Job type

Pop musician

£20k - £1000k

Typical salary

34 – 36

Hours per week

Pop musicians perform and record different styles of music.

More info

  • Perform and record different styles of music
  • You'll need musical skills, the ability to accept criticism and rejection, and business skills
  • As well as being world-famous, you could go into the business side of music as a manager, producer, writer or working for a record company

As a pop musician, you may play in a range of places like pubs, clubs, recording studios, theatres, and music festivals. You might play one-off gigs, or regular weekly or monthly slots.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

  • Practice and rehearse
  • Play live in front of an audience
  • Compose music
  • Take part in recording sessions
  • Promote your music by contacting agents and record companies
  • Use social media
  • Send demonstration ('demo') recordings
  • Set up a website
  • Arrange gigs and tours (or dealing with a manager or agent who does this for you)

DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

Studio recording can run until late at night. You'd be expected to have your own instruments and possibly also stage and studio equipment.

You'll need

To be a pop musician, you'll need knowledge of the fine arts, the ability to work well with others, thoroughness and attention to detail, ambition and desire to succeed, persistence and determination, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, excellent verbal communication skills, and the ability to work well with your hands.

You'll often need a good level of musical ability on your chosen instrument or as a singer. To develop these skills, you could get a degree or postgraduate award in popular music, music performance, or popular and commercial music.

You could also take a college course to get professional training and the opportunity to perform. Subjects include the Level 2 Award for Music Practitioners, Level 2 Diploma in Music for Practical Performance, Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology, or Level 3 Diploma in Music Performance & Production. Some courses require you to pass an audition stage.

It is important to gain plenty of practical experience by performing and doing gigs. Entering talent competitions and attending festivals is a good way to get noticed and make useful contacts.

Many musicians teach themselves and start learning an instrument from an early age, completing graded exams.

You could also showcase your talents through social media, music blogs, or initiatives like BBC Introducing. You could also send demos to recording companies.

CAREER PROSPECTS

With experience you could go into the business side of music as a manager, producer, writer or working for a record company.