How to get a music apprenticeship

Are you passionate about music? Have you always wanted to get into the music industry but thought that university or being discovered on YouTube was the only way to get noticed?

What if I told you there were other ways to get yourself out there and get noticed with minimal qualifications? In fact you could even earn a qualification while working towards your dreams?

Well then, you have come to the right place. We’ll be talking about how to get your foot in the door of the music industry as an apprentice, without having to go to university (and getting yourself into debt).

Why not get paid and gain a qualification at the same time. Sounds pretty good to me.

What Is An Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are proper jobs that let you gain a qualification and work at the same time.

There are some basic requirements to becoming an apprentice, you must be aged 16 or over, live in the UK and you must not be in full time education. The length of your apprenticeship can be anything from 12 months to 5 years and are dependent on the level of apprenticeship you are applying for.

Here are the levels and the requirements you would need for each one:

  • A Level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes. It only requires you to be aged 16 or above and to show that you have the ability to complete the program. 
  • A Level 3 apprenticeship is equivalent to 2 A-Level passes. It requires you to have at least 3 GCSE’s. 
  • A Level 4 apprenticeship is equivalent to a foundation degree and requires you to have 5 GCSEs grades A – C (9 – 4 on the new grading system), and Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQ/SVQ Level 3, or a BTEC National. 
  • Apprenticeships at Levels 5, 6  7 are equivalent to a degree. They require you to have five GCSEs grades A – C  (9 – 4 on the new grading system), Level 3 qualifications including A levels, NVQ/SVQ Level 3, or a BTEC National. Plus they may require you to have some industry experience or may even require you to have qualifications in particular subjects that relate to the apprenticeship.

All apprenticeships have to pay you national apprentice wage for an apprentice (which is £4.15 as of February 2021). However, some companies will pay above this. If you are aged 19 or above and have completed your first year of your apprenticeship, you are entitled to the national minimum wage for your age. 

What Types Of Apprenticeships Are Available Within The Music Industry?

Within the music industry there are hundreds different jobs.

Some of these jobs are:

  • Artists and Repertoire (A&R) Managers,
  • Concert Promoters,
  • Music Journalists,
  • Music Producers,
  • Music PR,
  • Live Sound Technicians,
  • Booking Agents, and Background Artists

However, there are a whole host more. So, it’s not a surprise that there would be apprenticeships within the music industry. Although you may not have an apprenticeship for some of the jobs within the industry there are others that would help you get your foot in the door and could lead to you progressing in that direction. 

You will find apprenticeships in International Promotions, Communications, Publishing, Marketing, Business Administrations, Music Assistants, Digital Media, Campaign Managers, as well as Sales Strategy Managers. All these areas are available to you if you so wished. All you have to do is find them…

So, Where Do You Find Apprenticeships In The Music Industry?

One of the best places to look for apprenticeships is right here. However, there are also some specific music websites that are also great resources. One is the BRIT Apprenticeships Scheme website. Here you will find up-to-date apprenticeships when they are available, however, you will need to make yourself stand out from the crowd as they can be very competitive. They will take up to 10 talented entrants for their apprenticeships. 

Another good website is the GOV.UK website. You will be able to find different apprenticeships on here no matter the industry. However, you may find that the other websites mentioned in this article are better as they specifically target the music industry.

One other apprenticeship website to look at, specifically for the music industry, would be, they currently have some apprenticeships showing on their website as well as suggesting other apprenticeships that they have currently filled. This will give you an idea of what else is out there. You may also discover a part of the music industry you had previously not thought about.

The DIVA Apprenticeships website is another good one to look at and keep your eyes on. They will display their current positions and they also offer internships if you aren’t quite ready for an apprenticeship. Internships are another way to gain some experience before taking on an apprenticeship and gaining your qualification. But remember many internships will be unpaid.

Why Choose An Apprenticeship Over University? 

Both Apprenticeships and University have their pros and cons. You might find that an apprenticeship appeals more to you if you are a more hands on, practical type of person who learns by doing, although there will be some coursework involved (as much as 10%). However, you may consider university if you find that you excel with exams and prefer to learn out of a textbook.

Apprenticeships are growing in popularity. The main reason for this is because it gives you the best of both worlds. It allows you to gain valuable inside industry knowledge whilst gaining a qualification and earning money at the same time. They also mean you won’t end up in debt since you earn while you learn.

Many employers will often prefer someone who has direct industry knowledge and can prove this than those that only look good on paper. But bear in mind you will need to do some research to find out which apprenticeship will be best suited for you.