What does a Musician do?

A Musician in theatre is someone who is skilled at playing one or several musical instruments. Musicians can also read, compose, conduct, perform, orchestrate and arrange music in a variety of different styles. Musicians for theatre often work alongside a band or orchestra to provide live music for a production or performance.

What are the main responsibilities of a Musician?

  • Read through and learn sheet music for a production 
  • Work alongside a band, ensemble, choir or orchestra to create a final piece
  • Attend rehearsals for a production 
  • Perform in the live show/s

What qualifications do I need to be a Musician?

Musicians don’t need any formal qualifications, however they would complete years of training in one or several instruments to be suitable for a position within a band or orchestra. You could train in:

  • Music
  • Music Theory
  • Music Technology and Production
  • Musical Theatre

Some Musicians become Actor Musicians

You can study music through school or by taking graded exams, both of which provide valuable skills for aspiring musicians.

Find training opportunities in music to help you get into theatre here

What skills do I need to be a Musician?

  • Able to follow sheet music
  • Work alongside a team
  • Self promotion
  • The more instruments you play the more employable you are
  • Have a musical ear 
  • Performance skills
  • Technical skills will help

What does a career in music look like?

Musicians can often work on a freelance basis and this requires you to keep a record of your previous work, on platforms like SoundCloud, to show to future employers. You must be able to promote yourself to potential employers, social media can be a good way to do this. Read our blog ‘How to be a freelancer in theatre’ for some tips on this. A show can involve anything from 1 to 25 musicians.

How much does a Musician earn?

The average salary for a musician can vary depending on experience and ability. UK Theatre / Equity Actor-Musician Rates for 2023 - 2024 weekly fee for a top tier Actor Musician playing to a 500-1499 seat audience is £587.86. Within concerts, an Accompanist should expect £38-£70 per rehearsal and £100-£230 per concert. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Photo: Shutterstock

Update: 4th June 2024

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