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Susan Hallam

Preparing for Success

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Back in July we took a look at a new book which gives advice to aspiring young musicians. Preparing for Success, written by Susan Hallam and Helena Gaunt, provides guidance on the opportunities out there for someone looking for a career in music and gives the lowdown on the skills you need outside of your musical ability to be a success.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Susan Hallam, Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, and co-author of Preparing for Success. We asked her some questions about the book and what it can do for anyone looking to pursue music making as a career. We also have a copy of the must-have book to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Could you tell us a bit more about writing Preparing for Success, and was there any driving factor in particular that lead you to writing the book?

Preparing for Success was written as we felt that there was a need for a book and some materials that would support students in developing the skills that are needed for becoming a professional musician which go beyond, and also support, learning to play an instrument or sing. These skills are wide-ranging and are often not addressed in further or higher education. We were also aware of the need to set out the kinds of opportunities which are available for those developing a portfolio career in music.

During time researching for Preparing for Success, did you discover anything new or something that changed your own perceptions either as a musician or an educator?

Writing the book made us very aware of the way that the music profession has changed, how insecure the profession is and how difficult it can be for young musicians to find their place in it. This led us to realize how important motivation, creativity and self-determination are, in addition to developing resilience in the face of disappointment.

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