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A musician is someone who professionally plays a musical instrument, or even several different instruments.  The majority can also write their own music.

Being able to create and perform music is a gift that the majority of musicians will be naturally born with – but with a great amount of practice they can develop their talent even more.

A musician may play many different styles of music, or just stick to the same genre.  They can choose to play solo, even singing too – or they may be a part of a band.

Musicians may also take part in:

  • Performing either live or in a studio
  • Music videos
  • An orchestra
  • Television performances, commercials or films
  • Marching bands
  • Functions such as weddings or birthdays

To be a musician you will need to have certain skills such as:

  • A good sense of timing and rhythm and an ear for music – being able to determine the pitch of different notes etc.
  • Ability to learn how to read and interpret sheet music and musical symbols
  • Self-discipline, patience, passion and determination – you will often have to practice for hours at a time, so you must want this enough to sometimes force yourself to get on with it.
  • Work well under pressure and take criticism well – you must be able to accept criticism and take it on board, as it will only help you to better yourself.
  • Confidence – sometimes you may find yourself performing to a big audience (hopefully!), so you will have to try not to get too nervous!
  • Being versatile – playing multiple instruments and being able to adapt to different styles of music will be incredibly useful for your career.

Qualifications to become a musician

Though it is not necessary to have a specific qualification to become a musician – it will always help in developing your skills, as well as making you stand out from other musicians when applying for jobs etc.

There are many different types of courses that you can choose to study, deciding on which one will all depend on what area it is that you want to specialise in.

Examples of the sort of subjects that you can expect to study (in general) in music are:

  • History and cultural context of contemporary
  • Composition
  • Orchestration
  • Music technology
  • Film music and music psychology.

Benefits of freelancing as a musician

There are many benefits to freelancing as a musician, just some of the advantages include:

  • A great feeling of job satisfaction
  • Greater tax benefits being a freelancer
  • Flexibility
  • Managing your own time

The opportunity to make more money by freelancing for more than one client.

By using our Freelancer Calculator you can work out exactly how much you could potentially take home.

Finding Work as a Musician

As with most creative industries, there is a huge amount of competition.  There are many other talented musicians out there, so if you want to be a successful freelancer you will need to make sure you market yourself effectively.

Here are some useful tips on how to promote yourself:

  • Join the BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry).   This is the ‘representative voice of the UK recorded music business’.  By becoming a member you will be entitled to legal support, promotion, research resources etc.
  • Sign up to Music Jobs Ltd. This is an interactive database-driven recruitment website for the music industry.  There is also a special section for freelance musicians who can promote their services.
  • Set up a professional website. Make sure your website contains the relevant information needed to sell yourself as a musician.  For example having a demo of you playing (video or audio – or both) will show the viewer what you’re capable of.  Take advantage of social-networking sites and set up links between your account and website.

Make business cards and give them out to friends and family. This could be useful if anyone needs a musician for an event such as a party, wedding, birthday etc.

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