So you’ve seen X-Factor and Rock School and think you could be the next Leona Lewis or Led Zeppelin? Well first off, you’ve got to ask yourself whether this is a fleeting fancy or something you can genuinely see yourself doing for the rest of your life.
The reality and long, hard slog of becoming a platinum-selling rock star or the next big thing in pop is often overlooked because so many of us are seduced by the highly glamorised, glitzy image the media has led us to believe is true.
If you have talent, passion and above all are ready to work really hard, not only on fine-tuning your sound, but also your networking skills and patience, check out these tips below to thrust yourself into the limelight.
After all, even if you’re not quite there tonally, there’s no reason without the right qualifications and attitude, you can’t have a successful career in music production and enjoy the behind the scenes action of the industry you are so passionate about.
The career ladder is your stairway to heaven
People get into the music industry from various different backgrounds and lifestyles. There’s no right or wrong way in and often, the more contacts you know and the more exposure you get, the better your chances at finding someone who will represent you and ensure your talent isn’t overlooked.
This applies to both musicians and people wanting to work on the production side of things.
To work in the music industry, you’ll need qualifications and an unyielding zest and determination to succeed. You’ll have to deal with cold calling, rejection, maybe even a few doors slammed in your face (ok, that last one was pretty dramatic and most people are polite but the music industry is renowned for pretentiousness so best know these things from the off!)
Below is a selection of music industry career paths:
• Band manager
• Music therapist
• Music manager
• Entertainment lawyer
• Music distributor
• Tour manager
• Music teacher
• Record producer
• Music journalist
• Music agent
• Music promoter
With any of these careers, you will need an extensive amount of music knowledge and be a responsible, balanced character, as these are demanding roles, which often require a lot of multi-tasking and the need to keep your cool, when complexities and/or arguments arise with difficult characters.
Gigs, reviews and trends – your backstage pass to the industry
They might already be your favourite past-times, but going to gigs, reviewing shows on Facebook and Twitter (or even better, your own site) could well be a realistic ‘in’ to your dream job.
Because the music industry is constantly changing, ensure you’re well read and up-to-date on what’s current. There are loads of specialist music websites and magazines that you can check out and read to keep on top of everything.
Also, follow your favourite music channels and record labels on social media sites as you never know when an opportunity might arise but be prepared for a fiercely competitive field!
Stop chasing the dream and knuckle down with an internship
If you want something that badly in life, you have to be prepared to go out there and grab it yourself. So don’t expect your dream job to just fall into your hands. Firstly, start crafting your CV to perfection and make sure it’s creative – after all, this is an ‘anything goes’ industry.
Demonstrate your passion, willingness and anything you feel sets you apart from the rest. Ensure your CV reflects your knowledge of the industry and why they simply can’t pass up your offering.
Interning is a great way to gain valuable experience, but be prepared to play the role of ‘tea boy’ or general dogsbody for a while.
Universal Music UK runs a scheme that takes 20 interns a year and gives them a year-long placement across the company, paying a typical London wage. Get involved!
Forget what Alice Cooper said, school’s in if you want a music career!
It can seem a bit of a spontaneous path to reach your dream job, but rest assured, there are more structured ways to become successful.
Music schools such as Bimm offer upcoming musicians and people with a desire to work in the field, the chance to absorb everything they need to achieve. Bimm itself has four separate schools, dotted around the country in Bristol, Brighton, Dublin and Manchester and they run open days so you can explore everything they have to offer.
Typically, an open day will give you the opportunity to watch live performances from BIMM bands, see presentations about BIMM courses and their unique philosophy, view their facilities, meet course tutors and answer any burning questions you might have.
Strike a chord in academia
Of course, there are more academic routes if you wish to back up your options with a professional qualification. Below are a selection of professional music schools that offer courses ranging from Music & Audio Production to Music Business and Production.
• Point Blank London (voted best music production and DJ courses six year running by DJ magazine)
• Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM), Surrey
• London School of Sound
• Purcell School, London
• Chatham’s School of Music, Manchester
• Aberdeen City Music School, Aberdeen
• Douglas Academy, Glasgow
However you choose to approach your career in music – going down the academic route, attending a specialist music school, standing in line for X-Factor or sending Simon Cowell round-the-clock tweets to check out your vocal skills on YouTube, do it with passion, vigour and finesse and at least you can say ‘I did it my way’.