Preparing for Success

A practical guide for young musicians

Paperback / softback, 285 pages, 240 mm x 169 mm
6 Jun 2012
Institute of Education

Price: £27.99

Loading Updating cart...
Pursuing a career in music is one of the most challenging and satisfying things you can do. Because music expresses something fundamental about our humanity, it is almost impossible to make it a profession without putting heart and soul into it.

This book is a practical guide for young people who wish to build a career as a professional musician. It will help you build a realistic professional vision, support your development, and understand what it takes to make a successful career. As well as providing lots of information drawn from recent research it offers practical tools and exercises, to enable you to relate the information to your own situation, and to help realise your potential.

The book covers three main areas:

• helping you to motivate yourself, set goals, and get the most from tuition, practise and rehearsal;
• nurturing your creativity and expanding your experience and professional horizons;
• mapping out the professional landscape and outlining vital parts of getting a career started.

Readers will find it an effective tool whenever they are in search of ways to understand their experiences, solve problems or identify goals. It will be of interest to students and teachers of music in all areas of education.

  • Susan Hallam

    Dean of Faculty of Policy and Society and Professor of Education

    Institute of Education, University of London

  • Helena Gaunt

    Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Chapter 1: So you want to pursue a career in music...
Chapter 2: Learning, setting goals and motivating yourself
Chapter 3: Practising
Chapter 4: Preparing for performance
Chapter 5: Memorising
Chapter 6: Making the most of individual lessons
Chapter 7: Being creative in music
Chapter 8: Getting involved in wider learning activities
Chapter 9: Health and well-being
Chapter 10: Career options
Chapter 11: Getting your career started
Chapter 12: Learning from your experience

Preparing for Success: A practical guide for young musicians is an excellent practical guide for anyone thinking seriously about pursuing a career in the music profession.
The journey to becoming a musician (and the reality of entering the profession) has changed significantly in recent years. There are now a myriad of training and education options available for young musicians and this publication provides an excellent signpost to the options available, the importance of life-long learning, navigating a complex profession and being realistic about success.
The desire to become a musician usually emerges from a desire to transfer your love of playing music into a career, but there are often many hurdles to overcome in order to be ready to tackle the challenges of a demanding and complex profession. With this in mind, Preparing for Success importantly details the holistic needs of musicians – these include ensuring adequate health and wellbeing, developing entrepreneurial skills and preparing young musicians to be resilient in the face of the inevitable ups and downs that are part and parcel of a portfolio career that requires young musicians to be ready to deal with ambiguity and to be flexible, with the capacity to respond to the demands of a fast-changing profession.
Overall, Preparing for Success encourages young musicians to be clear about their sense of purpose, of knowing what exactly they hope to achieve and by when. As with any publication dealing with supporting people to better performance, the book also engenders reflection about what it means to be self-analytical, to develop a high level of emotional intelligence and to be clear about understanding both your strengths and musical identity.
I thoroughly recommend this book for any young musician starting to consider a professional musical career. When I started my own professional study some twenty years ago, my main focus was on mastering the violin. What I now know is that a broader consideration of wider learning activities, the importance of mentoring and an analysis of the complexities of managing a portfolio career (as detailed in Preparing for Success) would have been invaluable.

Michelle Wright,

... an extremely welcome addition to the literature, containing as it does a wealth of highly relevant and detailed case studies and exercises, plus inspirational ideas and sound advice. If you want to make a success of your career and your future, then this book is essential reading!

Paul Kirkham, Managing Director, Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Actively choosing a career in music is, in today's fast-changing and highly competitive environment, both an incredibly difficult decision to make and yet for many aspiring and dedicated young musicians the only real career option they seriously consider. Hallam and Gaunt's impressive publication provides undoubtedly the most important contribution to the literature available to such young people at the cusp of professional training for the music industry, and should be considered an indispensable tool for individuals, music teachers, schools and entrants to further and higher education programmes of music education and training alike. Its practical exercises and pragmatic advice – not least the opening guidance on the use of the book – as well as the gateway it provides to a host of other related literature, provide an exemplary tool that supports the development of a host of vital skills, both transferable to other walks of life and invaluable to a lifelong career in music. An outstanding achievement.

Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Hallam and Gaunt present accessible, down-to-earth guidance to (primarily classical) musicians as they prepare for a career, spanning the sometimes bewildering breadth and depth and rates of change of contemporary musical life. Rich examples, reflections, quotes and exercises give the volume real-world currency for advanced music learners. Preparing for success is a valuable contribution to an emerging body of literature that brings home the idea that it takes more than a focus on playing well to become a music professional in the twenty-first century.

Professor Huib Schippers, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University