Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / APR. 23, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How to Become a Pop Musician

Are you musically talented, self-confident, creative, and have your own individual style? There is a chance you can become a pop musician and perhaps, enter the list of a few globally renowned celebrities. You will also need to be resilient, able to cope with stress and accept criticism. You should understand that with your choice of a career in pop music, you become a public figure and can receive increased attention which can be, at times, unwelcome or outright offensive. 

Also there is no such a thing as a formula of success for pop musicians. Neither there is a guarantee of a stable source of income, no matter how many hours and years you spend training, practicing, and recording music. 

What do Pop Musicians do?

As a pop musician, you will spend most of your time doing one of the following:

  • playing or singing in front of an audience
  • auditioning for TV shows or musicals
  • composing songs or writing lyrics
  • taking part in recording sessions
  • promoting your act
  • arranging tours and gigs 

Entry Requirements and Qualifications 

Understandably, entry requirements to the career differ. Some will need to take several years’ of formal training in a musical school; others will jumpstart their career by posting a single YouTube video. No minimum age requirements exist, although majority of current pop musicians are at least 16 years of age. 

Usually, your level of talent and luck are the only factors determining your success as a pop musician. You should be a good singer or know how to play at least one musical instrument professionally. No employer, other than musical schools and, perhaps, theatres, would ask you for a degree or other qualification before considering you for the job of a pop musician. 

However, this does not mean that you cannot or should not consider going to a musical or performing arts school. You can choose the school and programme based on your desired area of specialisation. Rockschool and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music offer qualifications in subjects like vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and popular piano. 

You can also take a college or university course in music, if you wish. This can give you necessary training and an opportunity to perform in front of small to medium-size audiences. Entry requirements for these courses vary; some will invite you to an audition. Your degree choices may include:

 

Career Development

As a pop musician, you cannot stop searching for opportunities to perform and promote your act. You will have to do a lot of gigs to get noticed by producers who can take your career to a next level. 

It is a good idea to enter a talent or singing competition. The competition there could very intense and participation would not guarantee you a success. You may want to consider one of the following popular competitions:

Another way of getting your voice heard is through the BBC Introducing programme. Unsigned musicians can upload their tracks to the website and get advice on starting out. 

You can also consider recording a demo disc and sending it to recording companies. Because of the crazy competition, you need to ensure your track stands out to hope for a call back. Contacts of recording companies in the UK can be found here

For more information about careers in music and opportunities to get your voice heard, visit:

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