In “The Musician’s Résumé – Part 1: Getting Started” on our Kennedy Violins blog, we brainstormed ideas on how to get started with a musical résumé. Now that we know the direction we’re headed, it’s time to put it all together.
WHAT TO INCLUDE
Keep in mind that your résumé should include a combination of the information below whether you are a performer or teacher.
Everyone needs to include the same basic information to start, regardless of your end goal:
- Full name
- Contact information (phone, e-mail, address)
- Educational background and degrees/certifications obtained
- Primary Instrument and style (classical, jazz, folk, rock, etc.)
- Secondary instrument(s). Note: Only list instruments you can play fairly well–not the oboe you played for one year in middle school. As a rule of thumb, honestly consider your capabilities: could you perform in an ensemble or teach beginner/basic music lessons on this instrument? If so, list it.
Below your contact information you will clarify your emphasis in the first (and main) section. Group information in a logical way: chronologically, in order of significance (recommended), or in a combination of both (i.e. categories with information within the category in chronological order).
Performers will emphasize performance experiences on a shorter, focused, résumé that doesn’t need wordy descriptions. According to The Musician’s Résumé Handbook by Bob Borden and Kathy Ivy of the Eastman School of Music, “Performance résumé must be limited to one page and should include only educational training and performance experience. All material should be listed in order of performance, without any description or list of duties.”
However, while its up to you how much and what information you include, you might consider noting your roles as either a section player, principle, or soloist, unless you’ve exclusively been a section player only and repeatedly mentioning it is unnecessary.
What to include:
- Ensembles with which you’ve played: orchestras, operas, bands (be selective–don’t mention your garage band to a professional symphony admin or anyone you want to take you very seriously).
- Teachers of note
- Master classes in which you’ve performed or taught. Mention notable artists with who you’ve worked.
- Freelance work and recording gigs. Note studio names and other meaningful specifics about the nature of the gig.
- Major recitals and other solo performances.
- Major artists with whom you’ve performed or accompanied.
- Touring experience.
- Workshops and masterclasses you’ve led.
- Private teaching experience, whether at a studio, a music school, or in your home.
- Non-music teaching experiences that reflect your capabilities.
- Certificates and memberships with associations like MENC or Suzuki.
ADDITIONAL SKILLS & INFORMATION
Ttowards the bottom of the page, include info that shows you’re a well-rounded individual with other marketable skills:
- languages you speak
- community service involvement
- computer/recording skills
MAKE IT LOOK GOOD
There are many ways to take advantage of the space on the page of a modern résumé, limiting white dead space and including all the important information you can. Working with columns and even spreadsheet cells can help distribute information evenly across a page.
Using light colored paper, like a classy off-white, can also give it a nice touch. However, as most résumés are distributed online now, you may not need to worry about paper. Still, you could make the background of your résumé a non-white, unassuming color for interest in your PDF or digital file.
DISTRIBUTING YOUR RÉSUMÉ
Now you’re ready to send! Send this résumé (along with a brief cover or introductory letter of inquiry) by e-mails or snail-mail to orchestra managers, school administrators, or other potential employers. You might even Include a recording (on a CD or as a sound file attached to e-mail) or yourself performing.
TIP: Once your résumé has been handed over, don’t just wait for a response, be ready to perform! Have audition pieces ready, to play, be brushed up on your conducting, or have a first lesson for students prepared.
Once your music résumé is complete, we would love to see it here at Kennedy Violins! Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or with your résumé for review. As supporters of the music community, we want to see you succeed.
All the best!