Do music schools help you find gigs?
When I began my own application process and was choosing music schools, I noticed Carnegie Mellon's "Hire a Musician" page. Directed to a simple spreadsheet listing different student musicians, their primary instrument, services, and contact information, I was able to reach out to a few. Out of curiosity, I decided to look at other music schools' pages and how they approach the process.
If you type "hire a musician music schools" in Google search, the first six links belong to Manhattan School of Music (New York, New York, USA), The New School College of Performing Arts (New York, New York, USA), Northwestern Bienen School of Music (Evanston, Illinois, USA), University of North Texas College of Music (Denton, Texas, USA), The Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and University of Washington School of Music (Seattle, Washington, USA).

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the University of Washington's page — its information was concise, straightforward, and meticulously organized. Moreover, they were one of few schools that offered not only musicians who could perform, but also musicians who could teach, conduct, and work as clinicians. The performers cover a wide range of music, from chamber to instrumental jazz, and instruments, from piano to Zimbabwean marimba. While the list had Bachelors of Music, it was also packed with Masters of Music, Doctors of Musical Arts, and PhD students. What was even more interesting was that the spreadsheet also included individuals who major in fields other than music, or have had experience across different disciplines (eg: PhD in Mathematics), who are willing to collaborate and offer their skills too. The list is comprised of recent graduates, current students, and faculty — you can contact the musicians by either emailing or calling them directly.

University of North Texas has the largest public university music program in the country, with over 1600 student musicians. While UNT's College of Music "Hire a Musician" page mentioned performers and tutors, it was the first time I saw a music school offer their student arrangers and composers. Interestingly, UNT's musicians are still available for hiring during this time, with "all social distancing protocols expected to be upheld", whereas most universities opted to pause the program during Covid-19. The pricing is discussed between client and student, and you need to submit a necessary form.
For The Royal Conservatory of Music, their page was also one of the most straightforward and easy to navigate. They mention that you can hire a soloist or an ensemble for an event, provide emails and telephone numbers of each individual, and the types of events and styles each student plays. The website also states that pricing should be discussed with the musicians directly, but typically are around $150-$250 per hour, per musician, plus travel expenses. On their PDF, however, it says that the hourly rate ranges from $100 to $175 an hour. The Glenn Gould School provides many instrumentalists and vocalists, with 39 people on the list.

This program for the Manhattan School of Music is organized by its Center for Music Entrepreneurship. The page is assembled in a FAQ style, and you can find relevant information depending on what you're searching for. In order to hire a musician, you will need to fill out a form, which will be sent to the center to find a qualified musician among students and alumni, and discuss the pricing with the musician directly. If you are looking for a private instructor, you will also need to submit a short form. There are also opportunities available for long-term collaborations — internships, performance, and competitions and grants, among others. The program is also working during this time.

The New School College of Performing Arts has a special Gig Office which connects student performers to local clients for "weddings, corporate events, and parties". To start, you are required to fill out a form and describe your event. Out of the music institutions discussed in this article, this was the first school that presented a different pricing system: the cost begins at $100 per hour per musician, with an additional $25 processing fee. The payments are also collected by check, which are sent to the school.

Northwestern's Bienen School of Music is another school that only offers performers, which is great if you are looking for musicians who can play at a wedding, church service, party, conference, or any other event. The process is simple: you need to complete the form, send it to the school's specific email (listed on the page), wait until you receive a list of appropriate musicians, and reach out to them to negotiate pricing. Bienen's referral office doesn't charge any commissions.

Although there are a lot of music institutions that do offer such programs, there are many more that don't have a "Hire a Musician" page. Most of the schools that do, only provide performers, which can be limiting if you are searching for a composer or a music therapist, for example. There are universities that make it hard to navigate and even find this specific page. Even so, it was great to see schools offering initiatives, on top of internships and other opportunities, for their students and alumni.
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