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Musician - Classical

Musician - Classical Image

Classical musicians play a musical instrument as a soloist or as part of a musical ensemble or orchestra. They perform live to an audience or record music.

The Work

You could be:

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:

Pay rates vary, depending on the orchestra or the venue (club, London theatre, regional theatre, TV or recording studio, for example).

There are agreed freelance rates between the Musicians’ Union and organisations such as the BBC and the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI). These cover live performances and recorded sessions. Information is available on the Equity website.

For example, a freelance musician working for the BBC Symphony Orchestra would earn £167.50 per concert as Tutti, £181.00 for Sub-Principal, and £191.00 for Principal. You would earn extra for overtime, for overnight trips and concert tours, or for playing more than one instrument.

You could earn more with other orchestras and those based in London, and perhaps at least twice as much in a major American orchestra.

Recording artists can earn much more. For the very few soloists that make it to the top, earnings can be very high.

Salary as a full time musician in the armed services varies depending on the individual service. An RAF musician earns £27,961 after 6 months basic training.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Useful Subjects

Getting In

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2024
1201
8.4 %
RISE
2029
1302
  United Kingdom
2024
13481
2.6 %
RISE
2029
13837

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:

Training

Classical musicians usually continue to take private classes throughout their careers to maintain and improve their performance.

Getting On

More Information

The Creative and Cultural Skills website has a careers section called Creative Choices which has information about working in the music industry.

Video

Courtesy of English National Opera

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Tel: 020 7221 3499
E-mail: membership@ism.org
Website: http://www.ism.org/
Twitter: @ISM_music
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISMusicians

Scottish Music Centre
Tel: 0141 552 5222
E-mail: info@scottishmusiccentre.com
Website: http://www.scottishmusiccentre.com
Twitter: @scottishmusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scottishmusiccentre

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