If you professionally sing or play an instrument, you may have the chance to interview with a studio producer, talent manager or event-venue coordinator who wants to learn more about your talents and what it’s like to work with you. Review common questions beforehand to help you remain prepared and confident during the interview. Try to formulate answers that highlight your work ethic, experience and collaborative skills.
In this article, we review general, background and in-depth musical questions, along with sample answers you can use to help you formulate responses that will impress your interviewers.
General musician interview questions
Use these common interview questions to help your interviewers get to know you better by learning about your skills, background and personality:
- What made you want to become a musician?
- Which instruments did you play in high school?
- What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the next five to 10 years?
- Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
- What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician?
- Do you have any weaknesses that you’re actively working to improve on?
- Which instrument is your favorite to play and why?
- What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
- Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.
- Which instrument is your least favorite to play and how do you make sure you play it well?
Questions about musician experience and background
While making or performing music may be the chief focus of being a musician, interviewers will want to determine if you’ve had the work and life experience to carry off a certain degree of professionalism or determine what it might be like to work with you. For this reason, interviewers may use these questions to better understand your performance experience, musical inspiration and creative process:
- What do you like most about playing music?
- What inspired you to start playing and making music?
- Describe your creative process when you write new music.
- Who’s your ideal musician to collaborate with and why?
- Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
- Describe your favorite venue for performing.
- Which skills have you gained that help you perform effectively as a musician?
- Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.
- Describe your worst performance. What did you learn from this experience?
- Which qualities do you think make a great musician?
In-depth musician questions
Some interviewers will ask you more in-depth questions to gain a strong understanding of your strengths as a musician and what it’d be like for you to perform at their venue. Improve your interview skills by practicing these in-depth musician questions:
- Is there another musician you’ve mentored or trained? Describe what you’ve done to help them.
- Have you ever taught anyone how to play an instrument? Describe this experience.
- What’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
- What’s your process for dealing with performance anxiety?
- How would you handle traveling and being away from your home for an extended time period while you were on tour?
- What would you do if your audience looked tired or bored during your performance?
- Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that you still use today?
- Have you ever participated in any music competitions? Did you win any prizes?
- What would you do if you made a mistake during a performance?
Musician interview questions and sample answers
Review a few common interview questions and sample answers for musicians to help you improve your interview skills. Your interviewer will typically use these questions to gauge a strong understanding of your musical talents, ability to perform under pressure and work ethic as a musician. Common musician interview questions and sample answers include:
1. How would your previous bandmates describe you and your work ethic?
People may ask this question to learn what it’d be like to play in a band or orchestra with you. You’ll typically spend the majority of your time with your bandmates, so knowing how easy you are to collaborate with could be important. Be honest as you answer and think about any positive comments you’ve received in the past that make you a valuable member of the team and an enjoyable person to work with.
Example: “My bandmates would say that I’m always positive and encouraging, even on days where we don’t play as well as we usually do. I’m always working to cheer everyone up, even if we’re all tired from traveling or feel burnt out from the many concerts we’ve been playing at. I constantly try to find ways to get my bandmates pepped up and excited so that we can perform our best at every show.”
2. Are there any past instructors you look up to? What qualities did they have that you admire?
The type of people you look up to often say a lot about who you are as a person and who you aspire to be. This answer tells employees that you’re striving to improve yourself to match the qualities that your previous mentor or instructor had. Your answer should clearly describe your instructor’s positive attributes and what you’re doing to match these qualities and perform as effectively as them.
Example: “An instructor I’ve always seen as a mentor was my professor in my music composition from my sophomore year of college. This instructor was so passionate about writing new pieces and using emotion to guide their compositions. If I was ever stuck on a piece, they would have me take a deep breath, clear my head and then return to my piece, which I still do. They always taught me to take my time with writing, rather rush or put pressure on the creative process, which are methods I still practice each day when I’m composing.”
3. What would you do if the audience was reacting negatively or being distracting during your performance?
Your interviewer may want to understand how you’ll react to unexpected situations while you’re on stage. This tells them how professional and calm you are when handling a negative situation. They’re typically looking for performers who will maintain their composure and uphold a positive image on stage. As you answer this, try to remain honest and professional as you explain how you’d maturely handle this situation.
Example: “As a musician, it’s common to experience a negative or distracting crowd during a performance. I think it’s important to remain calm during this situation and to continue performing my best on stage. If they continue to remain distracting during my performance, I’ll wait until the next scheduled break to find the stage manager and will ask them to escort the audience member out of the building if they’re distracting other attendees. I’ll tell myself not to take it personally and will return to the stage to perform once again.”
4. Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
The person you’re interviewing with will typically want to know that you’ll remain confident and in control of your nerves during your performance. Telling them your strategy for remaining calm and free from nervousness reassures them that you’ll be confident throughout the entire performance. Detail the routine that you regularly follow before your performance that keeps you calm, in control and anxiety-free while on stage.
Example: “Before each performance, I’ll take ten minutes to myself to gain my composure and to provide myself with positive affirmations about my talents, skills and abilities. I’ll also shake my body out to rid it of any nervousness or fears that may creep up in my head before I head out to perform. Right before I step on stage, I’ll take three deep breaths to calm and steady myself. This helps me feel more pepped up and prepared for my performance.”
5. What type of musician would you prefer to collaborate with?
If you’re applying for a role working with bandmates or other musicians, your interviewer will want to know the type of people you prefer to collaborate with. This helps them determine whether you’d be a good fit for the band members already on their team. It also tells your interviewer what you’re like as a team member and collaborator. When you answer this question, think about the qualities of past musicians and what made them enjoyable to work with.
Example: “The types of musicians I’ve enjoyed working with in the past were creative and innovative. It was very easy to bounce ideas off of each other as we wrote music or planned sets together. I’ve also preferred to work with teammates who are positive and motivating to work with. They usually encouraged me to share my ideas, even if I was unsure about it, which made me more confident and excited to express my ideas, thoughts and opinions.”