How To Write a Music Resume
Pursuing a career as a musician is different from other types of occupations and industries. Instead of seeking interviews, you’ll find auditions and opportunities to showcase your musical talents. To stand out from the competition, craft a strong, accomplishment-driven resume displaying your skills, such as performing and teaching music, along with your knowledge of music theory. We’ll provide expert tips to translate your career as a musician into a powerful marketing document.
1. Write a brief summary of your music qualifications
Openings for musician jobs are highly competitive, so you’ll need to create a strong opening summary to grab the hiring manager’s attention. Start by establishing what type of musician you are, your years of experience, and the styles of music you specialize in. Also, highlight any well-renowned organizations you’ve been a part of.
For example, mentioning you graduated from the Juilliard School of Music or are a member of a large orchestra would immediately show prospective employers you have ample musical talent.
Senior-Level Profile Example
An experienced trombonist and music teacher with 14 years of performance experience and eight years in music education. Studied the principles of trombone performance with Wycliffe Gordon while attending Emory University and performing with the Emory & Henry Marching Band.
Mid-Level Profile Example
A classical musician and graduate of The Juilliard School with eight years of experience playing the piano in large concert settings with over 20,000 attendees. A proven track record of performing with symphony orchestras and premiere music groups, including the Philadelphia Orchestra.
2. Outline your music experience in a compelling list
As a musician, highlight your strongest areas of musical knowledge and expertise on your resume to secure auditions. Prospective employers want to see what styles you excel in and the types of performances you’ve given in the past.
For instance, if you have extensive knowledge of classical music and jazz, focus on major performances for each. It requires extensive skill to perform at the highest level across multiple music styles, which organizations will take note of during the hiring process.
Professional Experience Example #1
Great Notes Performing Arts Academy, Topeka, KS | May 2012 – present
- Provide individual and small-group instruction to aspiring trombonists attending a summer performing arts academy
- Teach classes on trombone performance, music theory, and music composition during the fall and spring semesters
- Mentor six student trombonists per session by giving feedback on performance techniques and prepare students for college auditions
- Served as a program adviser for students in the brass performance track; helped students choose classes, plan performance schedules, and determine which ensembles to join
Professional Experience Example #2
Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia, PA | September 2017 – present
- Deliver piano performances for regional symphonies, chamber ensembles, and major concerts with over 20,000 attendees
- Perform a variety of classical pieces for orchestra symphonies, musical theater, and operas, including “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Mann Center in 2019
- Achieve recognition for fresh and unique performances of pieces from famous jazz composers, including Dr. Don Shirley and Ryu Fukui
3. Include education and certifications relevant to music
List the school of music you attended, your graduation date, and your area of concentration on your resume. You can also mention your instructor’s name if they have a prominent reputation. Certifications are generally not required for most musician jobs, but exceptions exist. For example, music teachers and therapists need specific credentials to work within their fields.
- [Degree Name]
- [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] – [Graduation Month and Year]
- Bachelor of Music (B.M.) Piano
- Julliard School of Music, New York, NY – June 2018
- [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization]- [Completion Year]
- K-12 Music Education Teacher Certification, State of Kansas – 2016
- Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC), CBMT – 2016
4. List key music skills and proficiencies
While not every organization will utilize an applicant tracking system (ATS) to identify talented candidates for auditions, it’s still important to incorporate key terms and skills from the job description into your resume. If the posting mentions specific styles of music or instruments, emphasize your knowledge in these areas prominently in your profile, professional experience, and skills sections. Below, you’ll find a list of key terms you may encounter while applying for musician jobs:
|Key Skills and Proficiencies
How To Pick the Best Music Resume Template
When selecting your resume template, focus on structure and organization over visual appeal. Hiring managers will always be far more interested in your musical accomplishments and expertise than resume aesthetics. Avoid overuse of color and bulky graphics, as these elements can often distract the reader from qualifications and experience.
Music Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples
- Example #1
- Example #2
- Example #3
123 Your St., Seattle, WA 98101
A skilled Guitarist and Writer with seven years of performance experience and more than 100 published music reviews. Winner of the “Best of Seattle” award for coverage of the city’s thriving music scene. A strong history of delivering engaging performances in major Seattle music venues, including the Crocodile.
Music Reviewer, Treble Clef Magazine, Seattle, WA
June 2016 – Present
- Write detailed reviews of rock and punk concerts, symphony performances, and Broadway-style musicals for a music magazine with a circulation of 25,000
- Interview musicians and gather interesting details to be used in profiles and concert reviews and generate coverage for upcoming music events
- Use musical knowledge to promote local events and ensure that Seattle residents of all ages are aware of the variety of music performances available on a weekly basis
Guitarist, Mouse Rat, Seattle, WA
April 2013 – Present
- Played acoustic and electric guitar for Seattle-based band Mouse Rat and performed at a variety of premiere venues, including Sunset Tavern, Ballard, The Crocodile, Belltown, and Paramount Theatre
- Composed original music with a blend of punk rock and mathcore elements, released three albums, and achieved a review score of 9.5 in a major online publication
Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, 2012
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electric Guitar
- Music Composition and Arranging
- Content Writing
Frequently Asked Questions: Music Resume Examples and Advice
What are common action verbs for music resumes?-
It’s easy to run short on action verbs while crafting your professional experience section. Often, there are a limited number of words to convey your musical accomplishments and experience. Differentiating your verb usage can enhance your content's impact and eliminate repetition in your bullet points. Below, you’ll find a list of action verbs to build your music resume:
How do you align your resume with a job description?-
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for musicians and singers is expected to grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031. Musicians can use their talents to earn an income, whether providing entertainment at wedding receptions or performing at large events. They also repair musical instruments, give private lessons, write articles published in music publications, and compose music for other musicians to perform.
Despite the wide range of opportunities available for musicians, it’s still important to align your resume with the job description to secure auditions. For example, if a posting seeks a seasoned classical musician, highlight composers and complex pieces you’ve performed. By tailoring your resume towards individual job descriptions, you’ll increase your odds of landing your next big opportunity.
What is the best music resume format?-
Reverse chronological format is recommended for most music resumes. This features your most recent and relevant experience towards the top of your document. Functional formats, also known as skill-based resumes, are considered outdated by most recruiters and hiring managers. These formats don’t provide a framework to properly detail your career achievements and experience, which often results in a generic resume that won’t separate you from the competition.
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Creating a matching cover letter can bolster the strength of your application. This is another opportunity for you to provide insights into the nuances of your music experience. In the middle paragraphs, mention the organization’s reputation or style of music and why this draws you to apply for the position. For more information, visit our acting cover letter guide.