How to Kickstart Your Music Career
Samuel is a student advisor and musician, who helps music grads break into the music industry and develop their careers. He has written this blog for HelloGrads, offering helpful tips for students starting out in their careers.
Photo: Terry Straubel, Pixabay
Finding work straight out of uni can be a challenge, no matter what subject you studied. And for a musician, it can be particularly stressful. Research shows that as many as 71.1% of musicians recently surveyed said they had experienced anxiety or a panic attackat some point in their lives.
The pressure of the music industry takes its toll. Finding work is a completely different experience to those pursuing more conventional routes, and it can be hard to know how to set yourself up for the career of your dreams. While there’s no guaranteed path to success, there are steps you can take to get ahead and position yourself for an easier transition into the world of work. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind.
Get experience as soon as you can
Whatever facet of the industry you’re looking to get into – be it production, sound and lighting, as an artist, or any other role – it always helps to give yourself a grounding in what you’re pursuing. This experience won’t only help you improve, but it also looks great on your CV – and shows you’re probably someone who can be relied on.
While it might sound like a challenge, try to balance this alongside your studies. If that’s really not possible, think about doing some part-time work during one of the breaks you get from uni. It might feel like a slog in the short term, but it will open up a world of opportunities heading forward.
Find your niche
Taking a scattergun approach to your working life makes you a jack of all trades, master of none. In the world of music this is particularly true, with new genres and subcategories emerging constantly. Find something you enjoy, or are good at, and focus all your attention on pursuing that path. This niche might initially restrict your options, but it helps you to concentrate on a specific end-goal.
If you’re struggling to work out what it is you want to focus on, there are useful guides which provide people with direction on how to choose a specialist area of expertise.
Consider starting a blog or vlog series
You’re looking to break into one of the most creative industries in the world. As such, it makes sense to develop a portfolio which really highlights what you have to offer. A blog series works, but vlogs might be more beneficial when focusing on musical talent and ability.
Make sure to create a consistent profile for yourself across a number of social media platforms. Reports show that just 1% of all YouTubers are exclusive to the platform. It’s important to expand your horizons as much as possible. This not only gives your portfolio more weight, but also increases the chances of natural, organic interest developing in you.
Have these tips helped you position yourself for a head start in the music industry? Refer back to them when starting your career search.
About the Author
Samuel Fisher is a student advisor and music enthusiast. He specialises in helping music grads take the first steps into the industry. Samuel has always had a passion for working with students and helping them grow. After completing his undergraduate degree in music, he worked as a graduate advisor for a leading music school. In addition to his work with students, Samuel is also an avid musician himself. He plays several instruments and loves exploring new styles of music.
Find out more:
Q & A… Hear from Musicians
Professional musicians discuss the benefits & downsides of careers in the music industry
Q & A… Life as a Creative
A successful creative (musician, photographer & menswear writer) discusses his experience of freelancing, & shares tips for getting into the creative industry