- What do you do?
- What is your background?
- What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?
- What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?
- What changes will there be in the future?
- Are there many opportunities to enter this career?
- What do you like about your job?
- What do you dislike about your job?
- What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
- A day in the life
Case Study: Musician - Greg
What do you do?
I have a full-time career playing popular music (country, folk, rock, etc) in bars and clubs, as well as at weddings, parties, county fairs and music festivals. I write my own songs, but in many venues, I play mostly cover versions of other artists' songs.
What is your background?
I grew up in a musical family, and at the age of three I started playing the violin. By five, my brother and I were in a children's orchestra. It wasn't always an enjoyable experience for a young child!
I decided to leave and I didn't take music seriously again until I was 18. I picked up a guitar and found that, because of my earlier musical training, it came easily to me.
The toughest part for me was getting over my fear of performing in front of others. But I conquered that and ever since then I've lived and worked as a professional musician. Along the way, I found time to study media arts at a nearby college.
What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?
To perform in front of large groups of people, you must be uninhibited. Musicians should also be diligent - they have to stick to it and keep practising, no matter how hard it seems.
Inventiveness and adaptability are important as well because musicians must always look for new ways of presenting themselves. Finally, you must have natural talent. In my experience, people are either born with this talent or they're not.
What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?
Musicians acquire a wide variety of skills. Those with studio experience could become sound engineers, while those with a good general knowledge of music could open their own record stores.
Musicians who regularly put on shows could become theatre technicians. Their performing experience would help them become radio or TV personalities.
What changes will there be in the future?
The music industry has become more decentralised. Musicians can get their music direct to the public via the internet, so they no longer have to depend on big record labels. This will grow.
Are there many opportunities to enter this career?
It's a very competitive industry, and there's not a great deal of money to be made, unless you get really famous. Still, I believe there are some great opportunities. Entertainment is a big part of people's lives. Musicians who are willing to change and adapt to new ideas and tastes can have long and rewarding careers.
What do you like about your job?
I love music. I grew up in a musical family, and since early childhood, I've taken a strong interest in playing music and learning all I can about music.
I enjoy performing music at a wide range of venues. I play at weddings, nightclubs, corporate parties, etc.
Also, the social aspect of my job is very interesting. I meet all kinds of people: other musicians, sound technicians, producers, as well as the people who appreciate my music and come and tell me so after a performance.
What do you dislike about your job?
Touring can be hard. You're always away from home and you have to work when other people are enjoying themselves.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Don't be afraid to adapt to the changes of the industry. Practise really hard, stay with it and, most of all, enjoy yourself.
A day in the life
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Speak on the phone to clients, agents and other musicians. Set dates for future performances and make other arrangements.
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Practise on the guitar. Compose music both on the guitar and on the computer. Use computers to arrange the music.
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Relax and take a break.
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Load equipment into my car and drive to a show.
8:00 pm- 9:00 pm
Set up my equipment.
9:00 pm - 1:30 am
Perform (three sets with two 25-minute breaks).