Case study

Assistant artist manager — Sophie

After gaining valuable work experience during and after her course Sophie now works for one of the world's leading classical music management companies

How did you get your job?

After graduating from my music degree I took a three-month internship with Macmillan Cancer Support, working in the events team. Following this, I got a permanent job organising and supporting the activities at the University of Hull Students' Union.

During this time, I also volunteered to promote the Hull Chamber Music Concert series and the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra events. I felt this was the best way to broaden my knowledge of event planning and promotional work, as well as gain experience in areas I hadn't ventured into before.

I was also able to work at the inaugural BBC Music Awards at Earls Court as the artist liaison for the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Throughout all my paid and voluntary work, I made sure I took the time to meet and speak to lots of people - in this business communication is the key to success.

How relevant is your music degree to your job?

It was incredibly valuable in helping me secure my current job as it opened my eyes to where you can go with a music degree.

As well as specialising in performance, I studied modules including psychology of music, which helped me to understand the challenges performers face and how they overcome them.

I also had the opportunity to volunteer as the deputy team leader of the Concert Management Team for the music department. We ran a series of weekly lunchtime concerts and I started to think I'd enjoy a career along these lines.

What are your main work activities?

I work for around 33 singers - operatic and classical. My role varies every day but general tasks include updating each artist's webpage, editing video and audio clips, sourcing reviews, editing photos, securing and processing contracts, arranging logistics of performances and rehearsals and answering any queries.

Sometimes our artists will be sick and we have to find a replacement quickly. They work all over the world so there are many different time zones to deal with, which can be a little tricky sometimes.

How do you use your degree in your job?

I understand what performers go through and what their requirements are, which is vital to be able to manage them and help them to make decisions. As you know what you're talking about, they learn to trust you as they know you understand.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy everything. As it's something I've always wanted to do, it's really pleasing to be working in this industry. There are tough moments and it can be a little hectic sometimes, but it's the nature of the entertainment world. It's definitely not a boring job.

What are the most challenging parts?

Juggling lots of things at once. You have to be excellent at multi-tasking and be able to quickly stop what you're doing to deal with something urgent. It also takes a while to learn about your artists and for them to learn about you and trust you.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Try to get as much hands-on experience as possible, preferably while you're still studying. Don't be afraid to write to companies and offer your help. It's also useful to create your own portfolio of work once you start getting things under your belt.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to talk to people. Network, meet lots of people and make sure they remember you. Get their contact details and follow up at a later date - they can offer some great advice and may well have some work for you.

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