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So you’ve decided to leave your passion for music behind and head out into the wider world of work, what can you do with the skills you’ve picked up?

When people study music, they learn more than just music theory and performance. Being a musician requires self-discipline, perseverance, and a lot of patience. 

Over the years, musicians gain various soft skills that can be applied to myriads of different professions. 

Best of all, these skills are transferable – they can be transferred from one workplace to another as they’re not job-specific. Employers are keen to employ and promote individuals with a strong soft skill set. These individuals tend to perform better than those who simply rely on hard skills, as they can communicate effectively and work well in a team. 

Here are a couple of transferable skills that you’ve learned through music that you should include in your CV. 

Communication

Even if you’re a solo artist, you’ve probably still had to communicate your artistic vision to other people to translate that vision into reality. If you’re playing in a band or a group, you need to communicate even more to give a good performance and make things happen. 

Interpersonal communication and assertiveness are two transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers. You may be good at what you do, but if you don’t know how to communicate with your teammates and boss, you’re in trouble. 

Project Management

As an independent artist, you’re probably in control of every single aspect of your music career, including scheduling single and album releases, managing your career timeline, your bandmates and your social media presence. Therefore, you’re well-equipped to handle all the responsibilities that come with the role of a project manager. 

Executive function

Research continues to prove that being a musician comes with an executive function boost. 

In a study conducted by Katherine Sledge Moore and Pinar Gupse Oguz of Arcadia University and Jim Meyer of Elmhurst College, both professional and amateur musicians outperformed non-musicians in areas that tested attention, working memory, and processing speed. 

This means that for musicians, planning, strategising and goal setting- better are second nature. 

Self-Discipline

Being good at your instrument requires years of training. Finding time to practice is part and parcel of being a musician. This requires a lot of self-discipline, time management and personal responsibility. These skills are a bonus to any employer out there, as being on time, working hard and being proactive are essential when it comes to finishing work-related tasks.  

Adaptability

Musicians have to constantly adapt to new groups of people, different styles of music and, of course, a stream of rejections. Employers look for individuals who can deal with change and adapt to new technologies, workflows and team members. This is especially important if it’s a fast-paced job that requires you to work well under pressure. 

Perseverance

Musicians have tonnes of experience in facing challenges and conquering them. Learning a new instrument requires years and years of repetition and perseverance. 

Being perseverant in the workplace means that you continue to grapple with challenging projects and you manage to complete seemingly impossible tasks even when the going gets tough. 

Open to constructive criticism

Musicians have to deal with constant criticism. They have to be open to feedback from their music instructors as well as their audience. This is no different than review meetings with your supervisor or boss. Therefore, most musicians are mentally prepared to receive criticism and take the positives out of it to push themselves forward.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

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