In this article by our partners at the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Membership Officer Sam Flower talks through the various routes of becoming an ISM member.
The best thing about my role at the ISM is the variety of musicians that I get to speak with every day. We advise, support and represent nearly 9,500 members from all areas of the music profession, regardless of genre; from DJs, music producers and solo artists to classroom and freelance music teachers, songwriters and composers and performers.
As the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music, we require our members to be working at a professional level within the music sector. And because we understand that everyone has a different avenue into music, there are multiple ways that our members can demonstrate the level at which they’re working.
When speaking with potential members, a common misconception that I come across is the idea that you need to have a music degree to join the ISM. This is quite simply, not true. To identify the level at which our members are working, we ask them to apply via one of our four ‘routes to membership’.
You can find out more about each route below.
If you have a music degree or an equivalent level qualification in music you can join us via the ‘Qualified Route’. Plus, to ease the financial pressures on recent graduates, if you’ve graduated from your first music degree within the last 10 years we give you a 70% reduction in the cost of membership.
If you don’t have a music degree, there are three other ways that you can apply to join us.
Membership Officer Approval Route
If you’re earning a living from music, your application is likely to be accepted. Just speak with our membership team about your career. In a short, informal telephone interview, we’ll ask you about your work and experience within the music sector and determine whether you can become an ISM member.
Ask two professional colleagues to provide us with references for you which confirm the level that you’re working at. At least one of your referees needs to be a current ISM member.
Fast-Track is for those who satisfy one or more of the criteria on our Fast-Track list. It could be that you’re signed to a particular record label, you have won or been nominated for a certain music award, have secured funding for a music project or have worked with one or more of the organisations on our list.
These four ways to join us ensure that our members are working at a professional level and this in turn gives them an enhanced professional status. This means that people who engage members of the ISM can always expect highly competent, knowledgeable and switched on musicians who have the full backing and representation of their professional body.
Find out more
By Sam Flower, Membership Officer at the ISM