classical musician

How to become classical musician

What does a classical musician do?

Classical musicians perform either as soloists or as members of orchestras or musical ensembles. 

They may perform live or on television, film, radio or video, or record music for albums and background music that may be featured on television and in films. Some classical musicians also compose their own musical scores.

As well as performing, musicians spend a lot of time rehearsing, learning new pieces and evaluating their performance.


What's the working environment like working as a classical musician?

Classical musicians often work long and irregular hours, which commonly include evenings and weekends. Recording in studios frequently takes many hours and can run until late at night.

Performances take place in a variety of locations, which vary in size and facilities. These range from arts centres, theatres, and music venues, to hotels and restaurants. Some large concerts and festivals are held outdoors in parks, arenas or stately homes.

The work can be physically demanding, involving hours of practising and rehearsing both alone and with the other members of an orchestra or choir. This will come in handy as part of their time is spent preparing for and attending auditions.

In order to perform at their very best, classical musicians take extensive care to protect and take care of their voices and instruments. 

Classical musicians can spend considerable time travelling around the UK or abroad, and can be away from home for long periods.


What does it take to become a classical musician?

To be a classical musician you should:

  • demonstrate strong musical ability
  • enjoy performing to an audience
  • have a lively and energetic personality
  • be resourceful, independent and disciplined
  • enjoy working as part of a team
  • have good health and stamina
  • have the self-confidence to accept criticism, disappointment and rejection.


Classical musician career opportunities


Further information

If you would like to know anything about becoming a classical musician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)
24 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7636 5400

Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
10 Stratford Place
Tel: 020 7629 4413

Musicians Union
60-62 Clapham Road
Tel: 020 7582 5566

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Creative and Cultural Skills
11 Southwark St



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