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Careers in Music

Careers opportunities for music graduates can include:

  • Solo and ensemble performance
  • Composition and arranging
  • Creative project work (improvisation, collaborations with dance, music technology)
  • Instrumental/vocal teaching/project leadership
  • Community project work
  • Collaborative projects with other media/art forms

Other career options related specifically to music include:

  • Arts administration and management
  • Copyright administration in composition and recordings
  • Librarianship
  • Management, representation and promotion
  • Music publishing
  • Music therapy
  • Production, retailing and distribution of music instruments
  • Production, distribution and retailing of sound recordings

The graduate careers website, Prospects, provides detailed information about a range of graduate occupations, including:

Other websites with advice on specific areas of the music industry include:

Further Advice and Support Resources

Other Career Options

Many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject.

Through your music studies, you will have developed a broad range of employability skills.

You can search for graduate jobs using websites such as Guardian JobsProspects and TargetJobs.

Useful Publications

The following publications are available within the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts:

The Australian Guide to Careers in Music
Author: Michael Hannan
Published: University of New South Wales Press (UNSW Press) 2003

Provides a comprehensive guide to careers in music. Helps the reader to understand the range of career choices and their implications, and to find a direction that fits his or her abilities and interests. Covers jobs in composition, performance, audio production, instrument making, broadcasting, management, law, publishing, record companies, retail, wholesale, teaching, arts administration, information services and music therapy. Within each job category the guide includes: A description of the work involved; An analysis of the skills, both professional and personal, required to do the job well; An indication of employment or business prospects; An outline of formal and informal training requirements.

Preparing for Success: A practical guide for young musicians
Authors: Susan Hallam and Helena Gaunt
Published: Institute of Education, University of London, 2012

This book is a useful resource for young musicians already studying and moving towards a professional career in music, or for young musicians considering the potential of going into music.

Beyond Talent – Creating a Successful Career in Music (second edition)
Author: Angela Myles Beeching
Published: Oxford University Press, 2010

This book is a comprehensive music career guide, giving step-by-step instructions on how to design promotional materials, how to find and create performance opportunities, network and much more.

Life in the Real World: How to Make Music Graduates Employable
Editor: Dawn Bennett, Curtin University (Australia)
Published: The Arts in Society

A music career guide that offers an international perspective. With the linking theme of exploring one’s professional identity, the book explores crucial issues for global musicians.

Musicians’ Handbook: The Essential Guide for Professional and Aspiring Musicians
Editors: Claudine Nightingale, Rachel Creaser, Sarah Reid
Published: Rhinegold Publishing Ltd, 2013

A guide for all musicians considering, or just embarking upon, a career in music performance.  With advice from those already working in the industry, and tips for singers, instrumentalists, composers and conductors.

Becoming an Orchestral Musician: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals
Author: Richard Davis
Published: Giles de la Mare, 2004

A guide for professional musicians on how to succeed in joining an orchestra or ensemble, and how to survive as an orchestral musician. Covers topics such as auditioning, nerves, the secrets of ensemble playing and intonation, conductors, the mechanics of the orchestra, performing philosophies and strategies for survival.


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