Although music lessons are under pressure because of budget restrictions in schools, there is a wide range of career opportunities for musically gifted students who choose this career path.
A knowledge of music – both theoretical and practical – can open doors into teaching, music production, broadcasting, sound engineering, songwriting and even therapy.
If your music students are looking to use their musical knowledge and expertise when they join the work force, here are a few options for them to consider.
1. Music teacher
Despite current budgetary issues, there will always be opportunities to work as a music teacher in schools and colleges or through private tuition.
As a music teacher, they will need to plan lessons, teach individuals and groups, develop their skills and knowledge of a wide range of instruments and styles, and arrange opportunities for their students to perform in public.
Just like other school teachers, they will need an appropriate teaching qualification (e.g. PGCE) and an understanding of working within the structure of the national curriculum.
Median average salary: £40,860
The musician’s union recommends an hourly rate of £34 for private music tuition.
2. Sound technician or engineer
This role is all about producing and/or recording audio for music tracks, films, TV, adverts, computer games and live productions.
They will need to judge acoustic input and output, mix and balance different tracks, be able to maintain and fix sound equipment, and work with artists to create the final product.
A working knowledge of digital sound recording tools like Ableton, Reason, Cubase or ProTools will be essential.
Median average salary: £25,159
3. Music therapist
According to Wikipedia:
Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health in several domains, such as cognitive, motor, emotional, communication, social, and educational by using both active and receptive music experiences such as improvisation, re-creation, composition, and receptive methods and discussion of music to achieve treatment goals.
If your music students show an aptitude for caring, and empathy towards others, becoming a music therapist can be an ideal career path.
As a music therapist, they will be expected to assess needs, plan and provide relevant music sessions, report to parents/carers, keep meticulous records and have an in-depth understanding of special needs and medical conditions that can be positively affected by music therapy.
Music therapists must have a qualification approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and also be registered with them.
Average salary range: £30,401 to £43,772 depending on experience
4. A & R (Artist & Repertoire) representative
With the amount of music being created and uploaded every day, as well as thousands of live venues that offer platforms for new artists to play their music, the role of an A & R rep is varied and interesting.
A & R reps will be expected to scour blogs, websites and digital channels, go to gigs and concerts, and search industry news and trends for new talent. Once identified, they will then need social and management skills to contact and negotiate with artists.
Whilst they may need to start work as a runner or production assistant before getting an A & R role, music students’ knowledge and experience should be helpful in getting that first interview.
Average salary range: £17,550 to £113,750 depending on experience
5. Session musician
If your music students want to target a performing career, they can start their journey to stardom by becoming a session musician.
Normally self-employed, they will need to create and maintain contacts within the recording industry to generate work. They will need to be flexible, confident and self-motivated and gain a wide range of experience playing with different artists.
Here’s a useful guide on how to start a career as a professional session musician.