There are many people who would declare studying music in any capacity to be a dead end. Those who think that the pursuit of a career in music is simply a passion or a hobby are numerous – but those people are wrong. The music industry is constantly evolving, and there are so many jobs available when you have the right skills. From entertainment management to music journalism, to performance, engineering and production, there are endless avenues that someone who is interested in music can pursue.
A colourful place full of even more colourful characters, the music industry is thriving, and the next generation will be dominating it ten years from now. But how does one get their foot in the door? While some courses will be able to teach you the skills that you want, they can’t all give you the practical, hands on experience that you need. Music, as any industry, is about what you can do in practice, not just in theory, and about the connections you can make.
There are multiple educational facilities in Australia with a strong focus on music, with varying degrees of industry immersion. In Melbourne and in Sydney, The Australian Institute of Music focuses heavily on contemporary music, and music production, while also dealing with other aspects of the industry. AIM offers a firm focus on gaining their students hands on experience, with industry professionals at the helm of their classes. By working with experts in the industry, AIM students are encouraged to learn about the importance of innovation, non-linear career paths, and networking. In each of their courses from composition, to production and management, AIM encourage students to really immerse themselves in the work, and they want students to make their mistakes at AIM, rather than out in the industry later on. This is paramount – wherever you decide to study, in any field, you need to be ready to make your mistakes there, so that you have a greater breadth of knowledge out in the real world.
The music business is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are career paths that match many different interests, but it all stems from passion. Music and the industry that surrounds it is all about passion for the art form. If you’re passionate about music, and you’re willing to learn, there are endless opportunities within the field. But the initial launch-pad of a good education in music is the key that will offer you success in the industry for years to come. Working with events like the St. Kilda Festival, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Live N Local, and the International Comedy Festival, AIM allows students to be on the front lines of music events, resulting in a greater understanding of the numerous moving parts that make these events possible.
Another important element to learning about the music industry is being taught by the right people. You don’t want a graduate with no hands on experience in the music workforce teaching you how to do it. What you want it someone with real, tangible experience that they can apply to their teaching, and that you can subsequently apply to your learning. Paul Gildea, a Melbourne based teacher currently working for AIM, is an ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, and he’s played with big name artists like Icehouse and Boy & Bear – somebody with that level of prolific notoriety is the kind of person you want to learn the ins and outs from.
Pursuing a career in the creative arts is always a nerve racking experience. But the best things don’t come from taking the safest route – sometimes, the biggest risks result in the sweetest rewards. If you’ve recently finished high school, or if your current course simply isn’t for you, perhaps pursuing a career in a field you love might be the best option. Contrary to what some people may think, the music industry is a very promising place to build your future, and Australia is full of wonderful facilities that will help you fully understand it.