Studying Music at A-Level and for Higher Education will open many doors to the wide variety of musical careers on offer. However, there are many different ways into the world of professional music. You can indeed study for a degree, but you can also ‘earn while you learn’ as an apprentice, or get paid while you work as an intern. The music business needs a lot of different skills and a diverse range of people. Many pupils might secretly wish to work in music but feel a career in this area is out of reach – it most certainly is not! A career in music can be hard and competitive, but it is accessible to all with the talent and determination to work for it. Dr Milestone, Director of Music, shares a small selection of the kind of jobs available:
A music performer can be a classical soloist, singer songwriter, band member, electronic artist etc. – i.e. a person who makes their living through performing music.
An orchestral musician works mainly in the live-music industry, performing in the West End, the numerous orchestras in the UK and abroad, and live bands.
A person who composes music can work in a number of areas of the industry. For example, music for video games, music for television, film and advertising, but also music for individual performers, choirs and ensembles. The composer will often be expected to produce and record their music and deliver a final product.
An instrumental teacher works within the music education sector. This can be within formal educational settings, such as schools, or privately in studios or from home.
School Teacher/University Lecturer
The best job in the music business! As a teacher of musicology and performance, you have the privilege of introducing children and young people to a whole world of music – different instruments, different repertoires, different cultures – and enabling them to connect with a subject that has the power to change lives. You would, therefore, be some kind of musical superhero. There is no better job than that.
Being a conductor/musical director is another wide-ranging job. There are many paid positions for conductors of amateur choirs and orchestras, as well as positions with the professional choirs and orchestras in the UK and abroad.
Music Managers exist to represent Music Makers – e.g. Artists, Bands, Producers, Songwriters – and nurture their business and creative interests.
A music producer supports musicians and recording artists in a variety of ways in the recording and realisation of their music.
Music Recording / Mixing Engineer
A Music Recording/Mixing Engineer oversees the many sonic and technical aspects of a recording session.
Of course, studying Music is not just for those people who want a career in the music profession. It is a rigorous academic subject which sets students up well for university study, and universities are aware of this. According to the University of Oxford: ‘The varied nature of the course enables students to develop highly desirable skills in areas such as self-management, creativity, data analysis, performance, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication, all of which makes them an attractive prospect for potential employers…rather than limiting your career prospects, a music [qualification] opens doors to a wide range of careers.’ That wide range of careers includes professions such as Medicine, Law, and Accountancy. Music is highly regarded as an academic subject and so will complement your other studies in leading to any professional career.
For more information on careers in music and Music as an academic subject, here are some useful websites:
Dr Rachel Milestone, Director of Music