Jobs in the music industry
Want to work to the beat of the music? It’s time to take note…
Aside from tenuous instrument-based puns, when you think of the music industry, it can be easy to associate it with just singers or musicians. However, there’s a wide range of music jobs out there spanning everything from recording and production, through to events, promotion and even teaching.
If you’re a budding artist or if music is a big part of your life, here are five jobs in the music industry, along with the skills you’ll need to break into the sector:
What they do: A music manager may represent one artist or band, or several. Your responsibilities as a music manager will be varied, but ultimately your job is to help your artists achieve their goals. For example, if they’re an unsigned artist, it could be securing a record deal for them. Or, if they’re already signed, it might be getting their song into the charts or securing gigs or festival sets.
What you need to do the job: Most music managers start as music assistants or even artists themselves and then work their way up to manage other artists. Managing artists takes leadership, determination, negotiation and clear communication skills.
Perfect for: People who enjoy putting on a great show
Our advice: Use our skills based CV template to show employers that you have the skills needed (e.g., organisation, people skills and a general awareness of how the music industry works) to become a successful music manager. Or, as there are no set qualifications needed to get started, you could also build experience by helping out bands within your local scene, and build up your network at the same time.
What they do: A music teacher may work in a school, college or university to teach pupils how to read music and play one or a range of musical instruments. Music teachers can also teach privately, carrying out lessons in their home or that of their pupils. Other responsibilities of a music teacher could be setting and marking assessments or helping pupils prepare for their exams.
What you need to do the job: To become a music teacher, you’ll generally need to be interested in a range of different genres. You’ll need to be a good communicator too, as you’ll be dealing with a range of people. Also, you should be comfortable adapting your teaching methods to suit your pupils. If you want to teach music in a secondary school or college, you’ll need a music degree and a QTS (qualified teaching status).
Perfect for: People who want to pass on their passion for music
Our advice: It takes more than a love of music to be a music teacher. You’ve also got to be passionate about teaching others how to play. To be sure that this is a career path you want to follow, try teaching a friend or a family member to play so that you’re sure you have the skills (see also: patience) to be a teacher.
What they do: DJs work at radio stations or play recorded music at venues. DJs can be hired to play music at clubs or bars and at private functions like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or other celebrations. As well as composing their own music, some well-known DJs may collaborate with other artists and play live, or support other artists at festivals or events.
What you need to do the job: Whether you want to entertain guests at weddings or play to large crowds at festivals, DJs need a variety of hard skills, like the technical ability to use a variety of equipment, and soft skills like an appreciation for a range of music types, a good ear for rhythm, verbal communication and the confidence to approach people about working with them.
Perfect for: People who look good in headphones.
Our advice: The secret to becoming a successful DJ? Getting plenty of practice. Watch videos of others working within the industry to see what they do and research the sort of equipment you’ll need. Then it all comes down to putting the time in to learn your craft. Once you’re ready to perform in front of people or share your tracks, start looking for opportunities in your local area. Whether it’s building experience by playing small family functions, or performing DJ sets on independent digital radio stations.
What they do: A sound engineer is responsible for harmonising sounds and pitches to create a clear sound. Sound engineers tend to work in recording studios, TV or radio studios to ensure the audio quality is clear and sharp. Part of the job may involve setting up and testing sound equipment, managing sound checks and adding sound effects to enhance performances.
What you need to do the job: The technical role of a sound engineer’s job means that most employers look for someone who has a degree or qualification in music technology, such as sound recording or audio engineering. It’s also possible to begin your career as a sound engineer through an apprenticeship. Sound engineers can often work long hours, so concentrating for long periods of time is necessary. You’ll also need a creative approach to thinking about music, and be able to think clearly in pressured situations.
Perfect for: People with an excellent ear for music.
Our advice: To become a sound engineer, who you know is just as important as what you know. So, if you’re positive sound engineering is the route you want to take, start following and connecting with people in the industry to build up your professional network.
What they do: Work in either the public or private medical sector music therapists use music creatively to help people deal with a range of social, emotional or physical difficulties. Music therapists don’t teach music, instead, they facilitate positive changes in their clients emotional wellbeing or behaviour through a shared musical experience. Music therapists can work with people of all ages, from children through to adults.
What you need to do the job: Most music therapists tend to have experience as musicians or have gained a musical qualification. Additionally, you’ll have to complete training at a postgraduate level and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Music therapists need to be compassionate, patient, organised and have good written and verbal communication skills.
Perfect for: People who want to foster a positive change through music.
Our advice: Showing an employer that you have experience supporting people with complex emotional, physiological or physical difficulties will help your application stand out. On your CV, make sure you list all your relevant work experience or volunteering positions. And, where possible, provide tangible examples of when your work managed to make a positive difference to a particular person, group, or situation.
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