How to become a musician
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by private training organisations
Whatever your musical genre, you'll need a high level of musical skill and talent. Though you do not need a degree for all forms of music, in some fields it is expected, for example classical music.
You could study for a degree or postgraduate award in:
- classical music
- music composition
- music performance
- popular music
- popular and commercial music
You could do this at a university or a conservatoire. You'll usually specialise in one main instrument and study a second instrument.
Some music degrees focus more on music theory than performance, so research the courses carefully to make sure they're right for you.
At audition you'll usually be asked to perform several pieces of music of different styles. You'll also need to talk at your interview about your your artistic influences and your musical career aims.
You'll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels including music, or equivalent qualifications
- grade 8 in your main instrument
- to pass an audition
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could take a college course to get professional training and the opportunity to perform. Subjects available include:
- Level 2 Award for Music Practitioners
- Level 2 Diploma in Music for Practical Performance
- Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Performance and Production
You may need to pass an audition to get on to some courses.
You'll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
Enter talent competitions, music festivals and events to get yourself known.
For example, the BBC runs an annual competition for 12 to 18 year olds across the UK who create their own original music.
You may be lucky and get talent spotted. You could increase your chances by showcasing your music on:
- networking websites
- social media
- music blogs
- demo recordings to send to recording companies
The Musicians' Union has more details on how to promote yourself.
The BBC Introducing programme could be a way to get your music heard on the radio, if you're an unsigned musician.
Many musicians teach themselves. Some start learning an instrument from an early age. This might be with a private music teacher or training provider.
You can take graded music exams in lots of types of instruments including:
Find out more about graded music exams from:
Armed forces careers
There are opportunities to train as a musician in the armed forces.
Find out more from the:
Get as much experience as you can of performing in public.
You could do this by
- joining a youth or community orchestra
- staging your own events
- entering competitions
Professional and industry bodies
You can get more advice about working in music from the Independent Society of Musicians.
You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.