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If you want to become a professional musician, then you should typically consider an educational background in music and make contacts within the music industry. While some professional musicians do not have degrees in music, it can make you more attractive to record labels looking for musicians who demonstrate maturity and commitment to the medium. You should then look for opportunities to make contacts within the industry and demonstrate your abilities as a musician. This means you should consider recording a demo of your musical abilities and look for opportunities to become a professional musician with a group or as a studio musician.
To become a professional musician, you should typically begin by considering the skills and knowledge that are going to be expected of you. This means you should be able to create music in some way, either by playing an instrument or singing. Depending on the instrument you play, your opportunities to become a professional musician may vary. If you play a cello, violin, or flute, for example, then you may find more opportunities working with a symphony rather than in mainstream music. It is best to keep your options open, however, and look for opportunities even in unexpected venues.
You should also consider a degree in music theory or performance to help you become a professional musician. There are, of course, plenty of examples of mainstream musicians who do not have degrees in music, but you may find it easier to stand out among the crowd of hopeful musicians if you do have a degree. Many record labels are constantly looking for new musicians and groups, but they are looking for people who are committed to music and understand the realities of the record industry. This means you may find it easier to become a professional musician if you have a degree that demonstrates your stability as a musician.
Once you have the skills and knowledge you need to become a professional musician, then you should look for ways to contact record labels. You can perform at live concerts, especially if you have a band and play popular music, or record a demo of a few songs. There are numerous conventions and trade shows for the record industry at which producers are willing to meet with new musicians looking to sign onto a label. You can use these shows to network and meet record label artists and repertoire (A&R) representatives who sign on new talent. Depending on your abilities and your interests, you should indicate that you are interested in being signed on as a band or solo performer, or as a studio musician who works with other performers for studio recordings and live tours.