Musician Resume | Examples, Pro Tips & Templates

If you’re a Joseph Maile’s finest student or you learned violin taking online classes from a freelance instructor, you both have endless opportunities in the world of music, if you create a perfect musician resume.

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Don’t make it too difficult as composing your first song. In this article, we’ve simplified the process of writing a music resume for a candidate with any level of experience – for any job in the music industry.

We have also covered:

  • Complete music resume examples that you can copy and edit.
  • A complete guide to choosing the right layout, format, and template for your resume.
  • A step-by-step guide to writing each section of your music resume.
  • Pro tips to make your resume stand out from the rest of the applications.

If Hilary Hahn is waiting to read your resume and get you under her wing, don’t waste your time – use one of our ready-to-fill modern resume templates to create your perfect musician resume in less than 10 minutes.

Music Resume Example

James Isacson
Musician
james@gmail.com
(234)645-2351

Professional summary
A dedicated session artist with over 5 years of live performance experience seeks to join Kevin Costner Music to advance my skills while providing a great music experience to the audience. Developing a career with both Orchestra and Chamber music.

Professional Experience & Skills

Orchestra Music
Longy School of Music
2015-2018

  • Experience in the string family, woodwind family, and brass family
  • Awarded for dedication to perfection

Beethoven’s 9th symphony
2017-2018

  • Involved in the chorus and vocal soloists in the final movement
  • String ensemble: violin, cello, double bass

Chamber Music
Eastman School of Music
2020-2021

  • Canzona and dance suite
  • String quartet

Education
High school diploma
Somerset High School, 2011-2014

Music Teacher Resume Example

Julia Jackson
Teacher/ musician
juliaj@gmail.com
(256)765-8263

Professional summary
Dynamic teacher with over 5 years of experience in teaching high-school and bachelor’s level music students seeks to join The Juilliard School as a senior music teacher. In my previous position, I taught a range of subjects such as music composition, live performance, instruments, and sound engineering.

Experience
Berklee College of Music, Boston
Music Teacher
2015 to present

  • Taught musical theater performance to a senior graduate class of 25
  • Created a jazz band and prepared them for a music concert in the school
  • Teacher of the year at school music awards ceremony in 2019

Education
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia
Bachelor of Arts (BA), 2010-2014

  • History of music
  • Music composition
  • Music theory

Skills

  • Musical instruments
  • Sound engineering
  • Sheet music

Certificates
Certified Audio Engineer (CAE)

How to Make a Musician Resume?

Writing a musician’s resume could be different from writing any other professional resume. Therefore, we have discussed different candidate profiles and the relevant resume structures.

The recruiter reading the resume could be another musician or an HR personnel – so our job is to write a resume that both can understand.

In this guide, we are trying to bridge that gap.

We use the right balance between conventional resume writing and modern music to create an exceptional one-page document about you.

We start with a little planning – first the resume layout, then the format, and the template.

The layout of a Musician’s Resume

The layout of your musician resume defines your overall plan – the sections you’re going to write and their order.

Following is the layout we recommend for most musician resumes:

  • Header: name and contact information.
  • Professional summary/ objective summary.
  • Work experience/ Performances.
  • Education.
  • Skills.
  • Additional sections (certificates, originals, and awards).

However, you have full control over your resume layout provided that there’s a logic behind your changes – a clean layout makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan through the resume fast.

Music Resume Format

For musician resumes, the format is extremely important – let me explain why.

The format of a resume defines how you write the information in sections such as experience and education.

There are three standard formats in use:

  • The functional format: is also called the skilled-based format in which the work experience is listed based on the skills.
  • Reverse chronological format: here, the candidate’s most recent experience is listed first and the rest follows the reverse chronological order.
  • Hybrid (combination) format: this is a combined version of both the above resume formats.

The most common resume format for professional resume writing is the reverse-chronological format. Use that if you’re applying for a music teacher position with relevant teaching experience.

If you’re applying to a band or a musical performance as a performer, use the functional format to write your experience.

Check out the two examples we’ve given at the beginning. Read our comprehensive guide on different types of resume formats to learn more.

Music Resume Template

The right resume template would make you the hiring manager’s favorite singer. A modern resume template that complements the industry and your personality should be your pick.

Worried about which resume template to pick? Our resume builder has a range of modern templates that suit musician professionals of all kinds – in fact, you could tailor the resume to fit your requirements in minutes.

A good resume template covers the following:

  • Define the font sizes, colors, and types for different texts.
  • Maintain consistent margins throughout the document.
  • Define the color theme of the resume.
  • Responsible for the overall look and feel of the resume.

The Title to Start Your Musician Resume

Make a great first impression with the right information in your resume header – it should contain your name and contact information.

Make your name BOLD and BIG as hiring managers usually read it first.

Here’s what to include and what to leave out from a resume header 👇

A good & a bad header

CORRECT
Tom Skipper
Musician
tomsk@gmail.com
(256)245-8724
https://www.instagram.com/tomsk
INCORRECT
Tom Skipper
tomsk@kkmusic.com
(256)245-8724
23, main street, apt 48,
Washington DC
USA

Put the job title just after your name – use a personal email address – do not write your full mailing address if not they’ve asked for it – put the link to your portfolio or a social media account where you exhibit your music.

Professional Summary

The professional summary is the chorus of your resume – it attracts the recruiter and makes them want to know more about you. Many resumes are not read in full – only those with strong hooks.

You don’t have to learn from Diane Warren to write an excellent resume summary – it’s a systematic writing process in which you could generate tailored professional summaries for any job you’re applying for in minutes.

Here’s how to do this:

  • Start your musician resume summary indicating your experience – use an adjective to describe your personality (eg: passionate songwriter, dedicated musician).
  • State your key skills that are also relevant to the position.
  • Explain why you’re interested in working with the band or the institution.
  • Describe your key achievements, accomplishments, and awards in the second sentence.

The more relevant your resume summary is to the job, the more likely the hiring manager will want to meet you.

You could also write an objective summary highlighting your interest to become part of a performance – the structure of a resume objective is almost the same. Objective summaries are written when the candidate does not possess much experience.

Professional Summary for a Musician Resume

CORRECT
A passionate theater musician looking for an opportunity to join The Florida Orchestra as a violinist. I have played in chamber orchestras and sinfoniettas as the first violin while completing my Master’s at prestigious Florida State University.
INCORRECT
An enthusiastic musician looking to join an Orchestra as a violinist to further my career in music.

Professional Summary for a Music Teaching Job

CORRECT
A dedicated music teacher with over 5 years of experience teaching for multiple grades looking to join Berklee College of Music to deliver my expertise to a passionate crowd of students. In my previous role, I was involved in creating music course content. Also increased the instrument inventory by 30%.
INCORRECT
A passionate music teacher seeks a position in a prestigious music school. I have 5 years of teaching experience and know a variety of music-related subjects

Demonstrate Your Music Experience

As in any professional resume, the work experience section makes or breaks your chances of getting shortlisted – this is the favorite section of the hiring manager where they spend most of their time on average.

We’ll show you the tips to write an exceptional experience section if you’re applying for any type of music job.

Here’re some general guidelines for the experience section:

  • Research the keywords related to the position and include them naturally in your experience
  • Use numbers and work specific detail when writing your achievements
  • Start achievements and accomplishments with power words. Eg: Created, Managed, Played, Led, Designed

Example Experience Section for a Music Teacher

If your previous experience is in teaching, the best resume format is the reverse chronological resume format. In that, you list each position or institution you worked in with the experience you gained – you should start with your latest experience and list down the previous ones.

INCORRECT
Aug 2018 to Present
Music teacher
Berklee College of Music
  • School music day event planning
  • Instrument inventory management and purchasing new inventory
  • Training students for music programs and events
  • Develop the students’ music skills
CORRECT
Aug 2018 to Present
Music teacher
Berklee College of Music
  • Worked as the head of the department for performing arts and musical instruments
  • Successfully managed the school music day program – involved in fundraising, event planning, and event coordination – $5000 for the first place
  • One of my student’s music composition project was shortlisted for the USA songwriting competition
  • Cut instrument inventory costs by 12% – also achieved 40% inventory from Gibson, Herman professional, and Yamaha with school funds and donations
You see the difference. Trust me, most musician experience sections look like the “INCORRECT” example. That’s why you have a great chance to get an interview if you follow this format. Hiring managers love to see the specifics of your work – they know you can replicate them in your new job.

Example Musician Experience Section

Music professionals’ experience does not come under one employer or a band. Most musicians work with multiple bands and production companies while doing freelance work. The best way to showcase their work is by using a skill-based (functional) resume format.

In a functional resume format, you should first state the skills and specializations – under each skill, you should then write the performances and plays you are involved in and your achievements.

CORRECT
Experience

Orchestra Music
River Ridge College of Music, Covington
2016-2017

  • Orchestra, second violin
  • Worked as the assistant music director

Symphony
New world symphony
2020-2021

  • Played flute, English horn, and violin in different plays
  • Youth orchestra, first violin

Chamber Music
New England Conservatory of Music, Boston
2020-2021

  • Sonatas for pianos
  • String quartets

Freelancing
Metropolitan Opera House, NY – violin
High School orchestras
Wedding function DJ
Musical live performer – The Arcade Fire, The Beasts

Original work
Composed and produced 12 songs and released on SoundCloud and apple music – 12000+ downloads
The cover video for Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” released on Youtube got 2M+ views

The biggest mistake you can make in an entry-level musician’s resume is to leave the experience section blank, stating that you don’t have much experience.

For a starter, you can mention the performances you were involved in your music school, high school, or the university – talk about the music events you coordinated in your local community – state the poems you wrote for the student newsletter. If you think about it, you’ll have plenty of performances to write in your experience section.

The Education on Your Musician Resume

Education is the least prioritized section of a musician’s resume. Still, if you’re applying for a music teaching position, the education would have significance.

List the education qualifications based on the relevance to the job – your music degree and the learning outcomes should come first – then your high school studies if relevant.

Use a consistent format to list your education.

Education

Master of Music Performance,
The University of Louisville,
2014-2016,
  • Orchestral instrumental performance
  • Non-orchestral instrumental performance
  • Jazz performance
  • Historical performance

Bachelor of Arts,
School of arts and history,
2010-2014,

  • Linguistics
  • Social science
  • Music

Musician Resume Skills

The skill section of a musician’s resume could consist of a mix of different skill categories such as soft skills, hard skills, performing skills, and teaching skills.

Soft skills: these are personality traits of the candidate required to become successful on the job

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Willingness to learn
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Decision making

Hard skills: these are the technical know-how required to carry out the tasks at work

  • Track mixing
  • Avid pro tools
  • On-stage electronics handling
  • Digital audio workstations
  • Acoustic
  • Music production
  • Recording equipment skill

Performing skills: the type of music performances you have an expertise in

  • Opera
  • Ensemble
  • Chamber music
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony experience
  • Instrument skills
  • DJ

Teaching skills: the subjects you have mastered that you can teach

  • Music history, theory, and composition
  • Music production
  • Pitch, rhythm, and timing
  • Assessments and classroom management
  • Event management
  • Audio production

Though there’re hundreds of musician skills out there, you can only choose 5 to 7 skills for your resume. Pick the most valuable skills based on your expertise and the job description.

Additional Sections for Your  Musician Resume Sample

Additional sections are a great way to add value to your candidate profile as a musician. In some cases, this is the information that gets you the job.

These are the most relevant additional sections for a musician:

  • Music awards
  • Music teachers
  • Original compositions
  • Skill certifications
  • Extracurricular activities

You’ll think you could have included some of this information in your experience section, education, or under skills, but here’s the deal – these small sections get the most attention from the hiring managers. Therefore, don’t hide your job-winning certificates and performances from the hiring manager putting them in BIG sections.

Awards

The awards you’ve won or shortlisted for as a musician will pop your resume from the rest of the applications. In the eyes of the recruiter, awards really make a difference – they mean that you’re a dedicated, creative, and exceptional musician.

  • Washington international competition for strings, 2019 – second runner up
  • Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists, 2016 – represented the university

Your Teachers

Sorry to break your heart, but here you’re not going to list all your teachers from kindergarten to high school. In fact, this section is only included in a resume on very special occasions, such as in your case as a musician.

List the best music teachers you learned from and worked with – the teachers who had the most impact on your style – the instructors who gave impressive recommendations about your music.

Teachers
Joseph Swensen
Paul Neubauer

Inspired from
Ian Swensen – Commended my style as unique and precise

Original compositions

If you write songs or compose music, you can cite those on your resume. State the music album, title, date, and relevant information for clarity.

Originals
  • A fire from within, single track, released on SoundCloud 2018
  • Mixed emotions, The Blues Production, 2017
  • Take me home, single track, 2015

Skill certifications

To practice teaching music in some regions, you need to be licensed. Show the recruiter that you’ve what it takes to start working immediately.

Certifications
Colorado Teacher Certification
Artist Certificate in Violine, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2018
📌  Pro Tip: You should limit your resume to one or two pages maximum. Avoid any information that does not add value to your candidacy.

Music Resume: Tips to Improve

The following pro tips will help you create a great musician resume:

  • Look for keywords in the job advertisements. Before applying, see whether you can obtain any needed skills or certifications.
  • Create your musician resume with a modern resume template that suits the music industry.
  • Divide your resume space into 2 or 3 columns to use the first page efficiently. Most modern resume templates we have created come with multiple columns.
  • Make sure your resume is error-free by using a tool such as Grammarly.

Checklist:

  • Start with the header: include your name and contact information.
  • Write a compelling professional summary to hook the reader.
  • Showcase your experience performance, and plays with specific detail. Make it as relevant as possible to the job you’re applying for.
  • Use a consistent format to list your music education.
  • Add 5 to 7 key skills that are required to perform the job.
  • Use additional sections to add your impressive achievements – place these sections based on their value – the most valuable sections could even go to the top.

Complement Your resume with a Cover letter

Some music jobs require a cover letter to be submitted along with your resume for the hiring manager’s consideration.

Even if they don’t ask for one, writing a cover letter shows your enthusiasm for the job. Taking an extra effort to write a tailored letter to the hiring manager would pay. It means that you’ve read their job description properly and you’re interested in the job – not that you just clicked “SEND” your application because an email was free.

Keep your cover letter to about half a page size – write 3 to 4 paragraphs highlighting your key skills, performance, achievements, and how you could be a great fit for the Orchestra team.

If you’re applying for an entry-level position, a cover letter would be your savior – use it to efficiently communicate your enthusiasm for the Music company’s work and the style.

You can create a cover letter with a similar template as you used to create your resume with our ready-to-fill resume builder. Check out our cover letter samples and templates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do musicians need resumes?

If you’re applying for a music teacher job, you will need a resume. Also, if you are applying for a musician position in a band and they’ve advertised it asking for a resume or a CV from the candidates, you need to provide one.

However, in some cases, you might only have to forward your portfolio of work – this depends on the job you’re applying for. If the recruiter needs a detailed idea about the candidate’s education, experience, and skills, they would ask for a complete resume.

Is the Musician resume different from other resumes?

Yes. Musician resumes have different sections and information that most other professional resumes do not include. Musicians’ experience could consist of performances, jobs, tours, live shows, and freelance work. A musician’s resume could include additional sections such as original compositions, a list of teachers, and awards that we wouldn’t see in most other resumes.

Check out our best resume templates for musicians!

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