How to Prepare for a Career in Music

career in music

A career in music is both challenging and rewarding. Musicians have the opportunity to share their art with audiences around the world, and there’s nothing greater than hearing other people connect with your music on a personal level.

Yet, there are some significant challenges that you’ll have to face when you choose to pursue a career in the music industry. Being successful will take a lot of skill, business knowledge, and a thick skin.

If you’re wondering how to prepare for a career in music, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some tips on how you can gain the skills and knowledge needed for this exciting field.

prepare for a career in music

It’s common for musicians to specialize in one genre of music. Learning music is an endless process, and there’s enough material in every genre to keep you busy for a lifetime.

However, versatility will set you apart in your career. Take Yo-Yo Ma, for example. This remarkable cellist specializes in classical music, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand how to play in other styles.

In fact, he has even collaborated with bluegrass musicians to create a unique and unforgettable sound.

Likewise, you should dedicate a majority of your practice time to learning the type of music in which you want to specialize, but also make sure you understand the basics of other genres.

The most successful musicians are well-rounded when it comes to their knowledge of different styles, so make it a point to follow their example.

music education

A formal education in music isn’t always necessary as most popular music artists don’t have any post-secondary education.

However, the benefits of receiving an education are limitless, especially for traditional genres of music. Typically, a degree will expand your knowledge and increase your income.

In order to decide if a formal education is right for you, consider the type of music you want to pursue.

If you’re interested in classical music, it’s usually recommended that you complete a university degree. Similarly, many jazz musicians pursue some form of education. It will also be necessary to have an education behind you if you’re interested in teaching music in a school.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in becoming the next Beyonce, a degree won’t make or break your career. Many popular artists have dedicated their time to performing, building connections, and recording, rather than studying in school.

learn the business of music

The music industry is also a business industry.

Unless you’re becoming a school teacher, be prepared to channel your inner business man or woman to get ready for your career. This might come as a surprise, but you’ll probably spend almost as much time carrying out business affairs as you’ll spend playing your instrument.

The most important business skills for you to learn as a musician/entrepreneur are: how to manage your money and how to build professional connections with other people.

If you won’t be receiving benefits and a pension plan, make sure you learn how to invest your money to prepare for your future.

Additionally, keep track of your expenses, and learn what business expenses you can deduct from your tax payments. This includes materials for teaching, travel expenses while on tour, and guitar strings.

Do as much research as you can, even if you want to learn very specific things like how much to charge for guitar lessons, the information is out there.

Last but not least, learn to network so you can build valuable connections. Your greatest opportunities will ultimately be given to you by other people who have already established their own careers.

Dress for success and always be prepared to meet a future colleague.

career in music

The music industry can be pretty tough, and this means you’ll have to develop a thick skin if you want to learn how to prepare for a career in music.

Remember that not everyone will love your sound, not everyone will love your teaching style, and not every performance will go perfectly. These are all the realities of being a musician, and it’s important not to let these hurdles get in the way of your success.

If you bomb a performance, analyze what happened and how you can improve to prepare for the next show.

If a student doesn’t seem to be processing the information you’re providing, try a different approach.

As for those people who don’t love your sound: there’s not much you can do about that. Just brush it off and keep writing music that you love.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, these tips gave you a good idea of how to prepare for a career in music. Being able to play music from a variety of different genres, channeling your inner entrepreneur, and being persistent will all contribute to your success in this field. Remember: you’ve chosen one of the most rewarding career paths out there, so make sure you enjoy the ride.

About me:

natalie musical advisorsI’m Natalie. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use my blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world. I’m also the owner of

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  1. […] need to be skilled, versatile, have a good working knowledge of the industry, and have a thick skin because competition is high and you need to be able to deal with rejection! […]

  2. […] You will be in class with both professors and students who are already accomplished within the industry. […]