In the world of art where the best of the artists are often overshadowed by emerging talented musicians and freelance music composers, struggling becomes a staple element of the game. Music being no exception, people who are majoring in music and those who have already crossed the bridge come to terms with the precarious prospect of employment.
It’s a common misconception that music majors can only find jobs in schools or universities. However, whether you want to teach, be a chamber musician, or be an A&R Administrator, there are a few things that you can do to stand out.
1. Develop these Skills
Self-management, teamwork, business and customer awareness, problem-solving, communication, numeracy, and IT skills were listed as the seven major skills which, according to the Confederate of British Industry, facilitate employment.
Students, who major in music, following their curriculum, receive more exposure and are driven to acquire these skills. James Lister, who studied music at the University of Nottingham, claims that these skills, honed during his time at the university, have greatly helped his legal career at the firm, Charles Russell. As evident, it is important to explore one’s options – even if it means straying from music to law.
Your CV will inevitably be with numerous other CVs―all of which, like yours, will be monotonous to read after a while. To counter this, internships are an absolute necessity. Internships, while helping you to gain experience, may even guide you to a job after you graduate.
Your work, which will probably be unpaid, may have little relevance to what you signed up for when you went to major in music, but interns are evaluated based on their dedication and management skills along with their musical abilities. Keep an eye out for internship fairs and internships listed by your respective institution. Letters of recommendations, if acquired after internships, can give you an edge over your competitors.
3. Prevent Voluntary Isolation
While it’s absolutely understandable that your passion for one segment of music might have triggered your love for it, you cannot afford to isolate yourself from other potential segments. Indulge in music in a broad sense―whether the music is choral, instrumental, or general.
If you’re shooting for an academic institution, indulging generously in other segments will give you more segments to excel at. If you’re headed to be a part of an ensemble, the variety will increase your options. This way, you’re not dependent on a single choice. It’s never wise to keep all your eggs in one basket.
4. Recommendations and References
References can play a huge role if you want your CV to stand out. Knowing people is an art in itself―and it takes discipline to channel your resources to make things work out for you. One of the chief skills that one should learn to exercise is communication. With communication and resource networking, your employer may be impressed when your name is recommended by a sincere colleague.
5. Be Acquainted with Technology
Refraining from technology is hardly a wise option. Apart from recording, tuning, and improvisation, mixing and post-production work are critical.
Whether you promote your music through the Internet or make an app to help budding musicians learn the secrets of the trade, technology will be your best friend in the long-run. ‘Yousician’, founded by Chris Thür and Mikko Kaipainen, is an example of how audio signal processing technology, combined with digital sheet music and tablature notations, can be employed to train music enthusiasts.
6. Consider National Music Associations
National Music Associations, while giving you access to mentors, help you to engage with people associated with music schools all over the country. In addition to access to professional journals and educational resources, these National Music Associations indirectly train you for your interviews. American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), College Music Society (CMS), Jazz Education Network (JEN), are a few options.
All said and done, music is an art and it must be treated like one. Whatever means you may adopt to enhance your chances at obtaining a job, it’s important to remember that it is necessary to struggle to be the best.
In this creative yet competitive sector, if you’re not among the crème de la crème, it’s easy to be rendered obscure. So whether you integrate yourself through meticulous practice or you disintegrate conventions―by resorting to the Alexander technique, perhaps―exercise everything that you learn to make the best of your chances.
Written by Benjamin Roussey
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