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Musicians create, orchestrate, perform and record music in a wide variety of genres.
What does a Musician do?
Musicians create, orchestrate, perform and record music in a wide variety of genres. They may be composers, instrumentalists and/or singers who perform either in a music studio or before a live audience.
As a musician, you would:
- practise regularly prior to performances
- perform in concerts and participating in recording sessions
- preparing for auditions and rehearsals
- maintaining your musical instrument(s) or your voice
- set up instruments and other equipment
- learn new pieces of music to extend your repertoire
- make recordings for sale or promotion
- contact agents and look for work
- participate in educational work in schools, businesses and the wider community.
Key skills and interests
To become a musician, you would need:
- well-developed musical skills
- stamina and physical fitness
- confidence to perform in front of live audiences
- motivation, self-discipline and determination
- able to concentrate and practise for long periods
- mastery of one or more styles of music
- creativity and a flair for entertainment.
Working hours and conditions
Musicians must be prepared to work irregular hours and spend long periods practising and and rehearsing. Unsalaried musicians often work in other jobs to support themselves. Many professional musicians also teach music as another means of income.
You might play one-off performances, or be booked for regular weekly or monthly gigs. Some musicians could be booked for a whole season if touring as a session musician or working on a cruise ship.
Most of your gigs would take place in the evening, including on weekends.
Musicians may work on their own, as freelance artists, in collaboration with others in a choir or band, or as a salaried member of an orchestra, opera company or theatrical ensemble.
You would be expected to have your own instruments, and possibly other equipment like microphones and amplifiers, which you would bring to the venue. You would travel regularly to different venues to perform. This may include lengthy periods of time away from home.
How to become an Musician?
Entry Level Education
To become a musician you generally need to have formal training in your chosen musical field, however some musicians are self-taught and do not complete any training. You can study music as a VET qualification, or at university. It is standard for applicants to go through an audition process and interview or musicianship/music proficiency theory test.
Professional musicians develop their skills and experience through daily rehearsing and performing. You would normally continue to take advanced lessons with private music teachers, to maintain and improve your skills throughout your career.
Competition in the musical field is high and musicians need to dedicate hours of practice to maintain and develop their skills.
Employment prospects for musicians are expected to show steady, but not strong, growth.
Growth in the number of full-time musician jobs has been steady over the last 5 years but is expected to slow and remain highly competitive over the next 3-5 years. Opportunities are likely to remain relatively stronger for part-time musicians. Highly talented musicians will always create their own opportunities.