How to become a classical musician
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by private training organisations
You'll need a high level of musical skill and talent. To develop these skills, you could get a degree or postgraduate award in:
- classical music
- music composition
- music performance
You could train at a university or a performance-led higher education institution known as 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 be able to talk at 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
To apply directly to work as a classical musician you'll usually need to have:
- learned at least one instrument from an early age
- taken graded music exams
- studied music theory
Many musicians start learning an instrument from an early age with a private music teacher or training provider.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music offers qualifications and graded music exams.
There are opportunities to train as a musician in the armed forces. You can find out more from:
You should get as much experience as you can of performing in public. You could do this by joining a youth or community orchestra, and by entering competitions.
The BBC Introducing programme could be a way to get your music heard on the radio, if you're an unsigned musician.
It's common for musicians to showcase their music on networking websites, social media or send a demo to recording companies. The Musicians' Union has more details on how to promote yourself.
Professional and industry bodies
You can get more advice about working in music from the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.