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How Do I Become a Studio Musician?

By Terrie Brockmann
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are many factors for you to consider if you want to become a studio musician, including schooling, experience, and talent. To learn what job skills you will need, you may consult job descriptions and requirements that are available online, through employment agencies, or through guidance counselors. Generally, you will need formal training because very few successful studio musicians are self-taught. Some of the best ways to learn what schooling you may need are to consult people in the field, college professors, and other music industry professionals.

Most experts advise a person who wants to become a studio musician to get a good education. You should choose schooling that specializes in arts and music. In some areas, there are high schools that focus on arts, including music, but if a specialized school is not available, you can enroll in the band courses. Often people advise musicians to study music in school and through private lessons. Learning to play as many instruments as possible will expand your experiences with music in theory as well as practice.

When choosing a college or further education, you should weigh each school's reputation as well as the options of what each offers. Typically, the school or college should focus on the arts. Research the biographies of good studio musicians or talk to working musicians to determine which schools they attended. Although schools may not be able to find you a job as a studio musician, many schools have job placement services.

Often musicians work other jobs that may lead to a career as a studio musician. Contractors who hire musicians for sessions usually want to see a resume that shows that a person is a good, reliable worker. A couple of examples of jobs that you may take are as a cruise ship musician or a creator of website music. Generally, both a cruise ship musician and a studio musician need to be able to quickly sight-read sheet music.

Some of the other skills that contractors desire in applicants include the ability to supply your own instruments, the ability to take direction or orders, and a positive attitude. Most contractors advise that a person learn to be a professional musician and remain flexible. Often musicians learn this professionalism in school or college or by working at other jobs.

Normally, studio heads do not advertise for musicians. To become a studio musician, you should learn to network. Some of the people who may help you get a studio job include recording studio staff such as engineers or other studio musicians, former teachers and fellow students, and musicians you have worked with. Sometimes former co-workers, such as other cruise ship musicians, are the best source for networking.

To become a studio musician, typically you will need to promote yourself. In the music industry, a person often complements a resume with a compact disc (CD) or other audio material to demonstrate her abilities. If possible, use tapings of your performance at previous jobs, such as the cruise ship gig, website music, or other musical sessions. Often contractors want to see that you interact well with the other musicians. Make sure that this demonstration material has some of your best work on it.

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