Career Office Advice

Career Office Advice

Starting, maintaining, and growing a career center for musicians is a challenge with which almost all our members struggle. This page gives you some advice that has been culled from the past few year's of conferences and include the following sections:

  • Possible categories of services, information, or courses
  • Workshop topics/ideas for career development
  • Ideas for marketing your music career services

At NETMCDO's 2011 conference, we created a document titled "Undergraduate Learning/Teaching Recommendations for Career Development in Music" (otherwise known as our "manifesto") that provides a wealth of guidance.


Possible categories of services, resources, and information:

  1. Alumni Network
  2. Career Counseling
  3. Career Expo/Fair
  4. Concert Booking
  5. Competition Info
  6. Contracting Service
  7. Coursework / Business of Music
  8. Credential / Placement File Service
  9. Faculty Advising
  10. Festival Info
  11. Graduate School Catalogs/Info
  12. Grant Information
  13. Guest Speakers
  14. Internship Programs
  15. Job / Gig Books
  16. Job Newsletter
  17. Gig Service
  18. Mentoring Program
  19. Musician Referrals
  20. Panel Discussions
  21. Publications / Handouts Produced By You / Your Office
  22. Résumé / Promotional Materials Production Service
  23. Teacher Referral Service
  24. Workshops

Workshop topics/ideas for career development:

  1. Freelancing
  2. Mock Auditions (orchestral/vocal)
  3. Handling Performance Anxiety
  4. Time Management & Effective Practice Techniques
  5. Recording Industry panel
  6. Producing and Marketing Your Own CDs
  7. Websites for Musicians
  8. Alumni Success Stories (panel)
  9. Music Teaching in Higher Education
  10. Grants for Musicians (from research to award)
  11. Career Expo Event
  12. Applying to Grad Schools
  13. Taxes and Financial Management for Musicians
  14. Jobs Opportunities Across the Music Industry (panel)
  15. Performance Health for Musicians
  16. Promotional Materials for Musicians
  17. Setting Up a Private Teaching Studio
  18. Specialized Panels on “Careers for . . .”
    1. i. Orchestral Musicians
    2. ii. Chamber Musicians
    3. iii. Jazz Musicians
    4. iv. Theorists/Historians
    5. v. Singers
    6. vi. Composers
    7. vii. Music Educators
    8. viii. Arts Administrators
  19. Career Focus for Grad Students (panel)
  20. The Entrepreneurial Musician (panel)
  21. Demystifying Artist Management and Self Management

Also Recommended: Do a survey of your students, staff, and faculty to get their ideas for topics and to get volunteer speakers! Also: Use your alumni!

Ideas for marketing your music career services:

Getting people to attend workshops and/or events:

  1. Invite popular faculty to speak on panelDesign an eye catching easily recognized logo for all materials
  2. Use posters
  3. Flyers in student mailboxes
  4. Flyers in faculty mailboxes
  5. Flyers in staff mailboxes
  6. Global e-mails
  7. E-mails to local alumni
  8. Announcements in classrooms
  9. Announcements in rehearsals
  10. Have food, door prizes at workshops
  11. Phoning invitees
  12. Ask student government leaders to make announcements/spread the word
  13. Student newspaper
  14. Faculty newsletters
  15. Ask classroom faculty to offer extra credit points to students who attend a related career workshop.
  16. Ask student government or other groups to host an event
  17. Have people sign up for workshops, leave e-mail or phone, and then send reminders the day before.
  18. Incorporate testimonial statements from satisfied customers on your promotional materials.
  19. Have give aways printed with your office logo: t-shirts, pencils, magnets, etc.

Targeting graduating students:

  1. Do presentations with the financial aid staff in conjunction with exit interviews.
  2. Send postcard to home address during semester break; parents will nudge students to make an appointment.
  3. Ask faculty to encourage their students to stop by office.
  4. Have refrigerator magnets made with your office info on them; distribute at graduation.

Introducing your office:

  1. Hold an open house "party" once each semester
  2. Give a presentation and/or tour during orientation week
  3. Offer free presentation to faculty for studio meetings

Introducing new students to your services:

  1. Make presentations at orientation.
  2. "Work the room" during registration periods (long lines).
  3. Send a brochure or intro letter to incoming students with their orientation materials.
  4. Make sure the admissions staff includes you on their tours with prospective students/parents.