How to Become a Classical Musician

Step by step
How to Become a Classical Musician

Many people have an instrument locked away inside a cupboard of their house, almost like a forgotten relic from their childhood, as while they didn’t believe that it could produce some sort of income, they stopped their passion to pursue something more conventional in terms of a career. It is possible to create an income from being a musician, and the classical route is perhaps the most accessible. Here is our guide on how to become a classical musician.

Choose an instrument

An old music shop with a horn instrument in the window

If you aren’t already playing something, you obviously have to begin. Every part of the band and orchestra is important to the overall sound, so are you an oboist or a pianist? Do you prefer wind or strings? Are you a bass instrument or a melody instrument? It’s time to decide!

Learn your instrument

A section of clarinet resting on top of some music manuscript

To generate a decent income from music, you have to be professional, which unfortunately means a lot of blood, sweat and tears as you learn all the intricate details and functions of your chosen instrument. Take professional lessons on a regular basis and become passionate about it and practice! Practice until the neighbours call the police (just kidding - don't get into trouble!). Practice until your fingers hurt. Practice until you can't practice anymore, and then do it again tomorrow.

Join a band

A brass marching band

Depending on your instrument, there are a number of different options here. You can opt for a wind band or a large orchestra, or you can choose something smaller and more intimate like a chamber group or jazz band. You should try to join a band as early on in your learning as possible so you can learn to co-operate and create chemistry with other musicians, and luckily you will be able to find bands of all sizes and playing abilities if you look hard enough.

Climb the ranks

A black and white photo of a solo violinist

When you join a wind band, for example, you are likely to play some of the more simple harmonic pieces the flesh out the texture, but as you improve and establish yourself, you will find yourself taking on more soloist and virtuosic roles. Be patient, and learn to appreciate every part of the music, but also be ambitious and work your way up to playing the key roles of the band. Once you have become the lead soloist, you can think about joining a band of a higher ability until you are at a professional level and are being paid to play concerts.

Enjoy your music

A black and white photo of a solo trumpeter

The most successful musicians are those who enjoy playing music. Become passionate, and find ways to keep your passion stimulating to you on a personal level. Experiment with different genres and groups and really find where you want to establish yourself.

It seems like an impossible task, but with enough determination, drive and motivation, it is possible to make a career out of classical music. It is an industry which is very much built on the level of your talent, as opposed to popular music which is often about being in the right place at the right time, so pick up your clarinet and practice, practice, practice!

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