All work and play

14th November 1997 at 00:00
CAREERS IN MUSIC. By John Westcombe. Heinemann. Pounds 9.99.

In 1996, 400,000 students sat GCSE music examinations and the number of A-level candidates in music rose to 6,500. So the need for information on the range of available career options and related qualifications for 16 to 18-year-olds is undeniable. This useful 106-page book, published in association with the National Association of Music Educators, helps meet that need.

Readers are advised how to prepare for careers in music and provided with information on specific jobs in the music business. Career case studies are featured and appendices include lists of posts advertised during 1996 as well as contact addresses. It's a pity the book has no index, though.

The author argues that many musicians are highly employable because they have strengths in the core skills (such as communication and problem-solving) the Government has identified as vital to employers. But, in part 1 of Careers in Music, John Westcombe is disappointingly lacking in specifics about the jobs 16 to 18-year-old musicians might prepare for unless they continue in education.

In part 2, he describes more than 20 possible careers. These range from performing to teaching, and from pop and rock to music therapy. They are categorised in terms of job descriptions, skills needed, opportunities offered and training required.

There is much sensible and pragmatic advice here. Background information, though, is sometimes inadequately researched. For example, the Registry of Guitar Tutors is not listed, even though its graded examinations are as relevant to rock musicians as those of the Rock School, which is listed.

And private instrumental teachers should know that the Associated Board and Trinity College of Music are not the only agencies relevant to their professional development. The University of Reading offers a diploma course in music teaching in private practice which could be better suited to their needs.

Michael Burnett

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