Music Career Guide

Gaining experience


Breaking into the music industry can be tough and so previous experience is crucial. The more experience across different areas you can gain, the stronger your applications will be. As well as providing you with more knowledge, gaining experience will also help you to decide which specific direction you wish to take. The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time.



Speculative applications

You might find it tricky to find advertised opportunities within the music industry, so a speculative approach could be crucial for you to secure some work experience. This approach involves sending a CV and cover letter to an employer to ask if they can offer any work experience, even if the company is not currently advertising any opportunities. Submitting a speculative application shows your interest in a specific company and your willingness to go above and beyond to develop your skills and understanding of the industry. Places to consider approaching could include recording studios, events management companies, schools, music retailers or venues that regularly host musical acts.


Find out more about speculative applications

Photo of the digital sound display




It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience. The Careers & Employability Volunteering Bank on MyCareer provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies, listing roles such as:

  • Media Technician Volunteer with Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

  • Volunteer Choir Matron with Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

Learn more about our Volunteering Team



Tips to build experience

  • Research roles that interest you and what companies you’d like to work for. Create a list of the companies and contact them asking for work experience. Most of the major record companies and industry bodies run formalised internships and work experience schemes and are open to speculative applications.
  • Working at local festivals and events can be a great way to build up your experience. Victorious Festival in Portsmouth offers both paid and voluntary work opportunities.
  • Attend as many industry-related shows, events or networking opportunities as possible. This is a great way to meet professionals in your industry and build contacts, which may be able to help you find work experience.
  • Gain practical experience during your degree by working for Pure FM (UoP's own radio station) or volunteer with Queen Alexandra Hospital Radio.
  • Join a university music group to increase your skills and experience. Groups on offer include choir, orchestra, wind band, big band and the Dramatic and Musical Society.
  • Ensure you have a strong online presence, particularly if you are interested in performance. Utilise Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud in order to promote your output whilst X and LinkedIn can be used for networking and accessing the hidden jobs market.



Explore the Music Career Guide


Your guide to building a career in the music industry.

Only to be used in relation to George's work / research
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Getting started in music

Take the first steps to researching a career in music.

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Finding a job in music

Explore different ways to secure employment in the music industry after you graduate.

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