Tips on How to Choose the Right Music Course for a Career in the Music Industry

Selection of the correct music course is crucial. For some, the aim is to get into the music industry as a recording artist at a label or other connected role, others to play in a band or orchestra or become music teachers. The choices are wide and it can be daunting, knowing you will invest a good chunk of your life and money in something where you’re not certain of the outcome. It can feel like a gamble.

Apart from talent (this is a must) getting a job in the music industry requires skill and experience (if you are lucky enough to get a work placement or internship) in addition to a qualification. Budget is also an important factor while choosing a music course. If you play an instrument, some (like brass and wind) can be very expensive. There may well be continuous investment in your instrument as well as the private lessons while studying. If you intent to apply to a top institution which has links to the industry, be aware of the high fees charged.

Generally, most institutions look for a certain standard of performance of vocal and instrumental skills and sometimes composition ability.

Below are some ideas for how to proceed with choosing the best music course:

1. Decide which area of the music industry you are interested in and passionate about.

Is it teaching/education, performance, production / technology or business related? Look at educational and industry directories that provide an overview of different sectors, job specifications etc. Also, view at any advice and guidance pages. If you plan to do a degree, the 2 main ones are a Music BA and BMus. You might find that some universities offer both a BA and a BMus course. While both of them are general music courses, the BA course normally follows a broader range of subjects, including more academic subjects like music history or analysis.

BMus courses, on the other hand,are more practical-oriented. They usually contain more performance and composition elements. You should compare the course details at individual universities for an exact comparison.

2. If applying to a University or College, understand that they want the best candidates as much as you want to study there.

Therefore, do your research. When considering a University/college, consider:

– if you want to stay near your family or move as far away as possible
– big city or small town? What’s the social life like?
– look at how long the course have been established
– what are the entry requirement needed to be accepted?
– do they get visits by people working in the industry?
– are the current students happy with their courses there?
– what was the feedback from previous graduates to the course? How many of them got good jobs when they left?

3. You can help yourself by applying to as many relevant ones as possible.

Be aware that competition for places means many music courses are over-subscribed. Also, there a large number of different music courses available at universities. If you’ve already decided your career path, it is worth considering a specialised music course. If you want to keep your options open, choose a general music course.

4. Visit the institution offering the course and meet the staff and see the facilities.

Understand the nature of the courses you are considering by asking questions, particularly when applying for a specific course. Make sure you ask the following questions:

– How connected to the music industry is the course (e.g. industry guest lectures, work placement opportunities, etc)?
– Do lecturers and staff have industry backgrounds?
– What are the course facilities like (e.g studios, rehearsal rooms, concert hall, teaching areas, libraries, research and development centre)?
– Are there performing opportunities e.g. bands, chamber and full orchestras at special events etc
– What are the opportunities for progression to higher level courses on completion of the qualification/training?
– Do students have freedom to specialise in within the course, e.g. take performance/composition/business as major parts of it? Can students work on their own extended projects under staff direction?
– Does the course teach business skills? anyone entering the music industry must understand the business side. Sales, marketing, people and project management, finance and promotional skills are particularly valuable.
– What is the teaching like? Are the classes small and intimate where everybody has a personal tutor in case something goes wrong?
– What careers have past students gone on to have after completing the course? Is the qualification held in high regard when seen by prospective employers in the music industry?

If possible, it is also worth speaking with a professional musician or music teacher you know because they will be able to identify the possibilities available. Not only this, they will also be able to give you some insight into what to expect when you complete your course and start job hunting.

Music Industry Jobs – What’s Out There?

Human beings are a complex amalgam of psychology, nature, desires, necessities, etc. They urge for activities that keep their soul working, alongside activities that can earn them money, to keep their body working. And both come together to make their life better by pursuing a career in the music industry.

The music industry, for certain people, joins the two worlds, providing for both the soul and the body. People join music industry for their hobby of singing, composing or writing and can earn a good living from it.Generally, masses limit their thought by thinking the music industry only needs a particular skill set. They think a stunning voice and great singing abilities are must for music related jobs. However, this is not so true. Music welcomes people with very diverse skills. There are plenty of jobs in Music industry to pursue. You don’t have to be a guitarist or working with a label to take a start. You can take-up job of Artist Manager, Music Promoter, Music Agent, Music Journalist, Record Producer or Cover Designer.

An Artist or Band Manager is the one who manages the artist/band; its activities, promotion, concerts, deals and all other day to day matters. Apart from music generation, he looks after every other aspect. For this job, you should have an organized personality, good interpersonal and negotiation skills and knowledge of overall industry.

A Music Promoter is basically a marketer. He promotes albums, concerts, record labels, clubs, videos, etc. Promoters work hard to select the most appropriate venue for the concert and arrange accommodation for band. They also look for sponsors to promote their subject through various strategies. To be a promoter, you need good marketing and negotiation abilities coupled with extensive PR.

Next is the job of a Music Agent. Music Agents basically deal with live music. They coordinate with music promoters, record labels or even directly with bands. They arrange live performances with huge audiences and coordinate the performance dates, finance, stage requirements, etc. They negotiate with promoters on venues, accommodation arrangements, etc. You should have good connections and management skills to be a successful agent.

A Music Journalist has the job of writing. They can specialize into writing reviews for music albums, videos, songs, lyrics, concerts and DVDs. They focus more deeply on just artists and bands, interviewing them and writing on their backgrounds. They may also just write about topics in the overall industry; its prospects, trends, history, advancements, etc. A Music Journalist should possess excellent writing skills, research skills and knowledge of industry.

Another fantastic job is that of Record Producer. These are high in demand and work with studios and/or bands and look after the sound with special focus on recording. They can add a part to the song, or just a sound that would enhance the whole effect while recording. Their experience, reputation and aesthetics make them highly paid people.

If you are a professional photographer or a graphic designer, you can make a good fortune here. You will be given designing tasks for album covers, banners, poster, t-shirts, website templates and stage designs. The list of jobs in music industry goes on and on. You can be a radio plugger, VJ, RJ, DJ, or even a music teacher. In short, it can be truly said that the music industry has careers for everyone.