When putting forward your qualities as a professional musician, it is important to focus on your presentation skills. All artistic work involves an element of self-promotion as well as communication about your project. Some of the most basic and most requested professional self-communication tools are of course:
-Your CV accompanied by a cover letter.
-A biography and a portrait photo.
These communication tools are complementary but have very different uses. In order for them to be effective, they all need to reflect your personality and your artistic identity. They make up your communication kit, a tool that all artists should have available and up to date at all times!
CV, cover letter, biography and portrait photo
You will be systematically asked to provide your CV when:
-Responding to a call for applications: for a training opportunity, a masterclass, a competition or an artistic residence.
-Asking for a study grant, or financial aid.
-Applying for a job, an audition, or social support.
Your CV allows you to provide a succinct and objective description of your professional career, your skills and your personality.
The structure, design, and content of your CV should comply with the norms and standards of the receiver. This is why it is important to adapt your CV depending on what you are applying for and who you are sending it to. You should highlight different experiences depending on whether you are applying for an audition, a position as a professor or asking for a grant.
For employers or people reading your CV, your CV will enable them to swiftly decide whether your profile is a good match or not. This is why it is so important to know who you are addressing your CV to and why.
2 – Cover Letter
Your cover letter accompanies your CV every time you send it to somebody, or use it to apply, present, or communicate your skills. It is the sole tool that is written in the first person and often plays a crucial role in whether the reader will be interested in your CV or your application.
3 – Biography
A biography is one of the most important communication tools in an artist’s toolbox. It is a narration of your experience up to now. The text should be short (around 15 lines), succinct, and written in the third person. It should highlight the artist’s or group’s presence in the media, their concert programs, and their websites. Your biography should always be accessible in your professional file. A biography allows a musician to express their artistic identity or the artistic identity of a group and it highlights both their experiences and specific events.
If we ask professionals, be they organizers, programmers or people with decisional power about what they are looking for during the selection process, they will all agree that the quality, originality and uniqueness of an artistic project is important. It is difficult to define originality; however an artist can try to illustrate their originality in their biography by expressing their artistic identity. Artistic identity can be considered as an artist’s motivation to create or play music, what that music means to them, what message they wish to communicate by playing it and what they wish to contribute to the world of music. This is how an artist sets themselves apart from the rest.
4 – Portrait photo
We live in a world that values images and photos are often what attract our attention in communication documents. The photographic representation of an artist or group completes and brings to life their biography. Both the biography and the portrait photo are required for the same contexts such as a concert program, a website, a media feature, or in a presentation file. They are also often requested when applying for calls for applications or auditions.
For an audience, the portrait photo brings the artist to life and makes them seem more real and accessible. It is a visual representation of an artistic personality. All the different elements present in the photo such as the decor, the space chosen, the stance, costume and posture of the artist, the position of the instrument and the color of the photo all work together to send the viewer an image of the artist.