Personal side note*
We are officially a third of the way in my first challenge! I’d like to thank my mom and my dad and my uncle and my fridge and my… SHUT UP AND GET TO IT GIRL! That was just a little skit for your (probably more my) entertainment before we get into todays career. But I seriously do think that its important celebrate your mini victories and so today I’m researching a career that sounds extra exciting.
Traveling the world, performing music and getting free meals and accommodation. This is a typical day in the life of a a cruise ship musician. Only catch is it takes a lot of dedication and discipline to become marketable for this position. So if you have real talent and passion for music I think this could be a highly enjoyable career. Of course these are just my surface level thoughts on the career, time to research the career so I can get more depth.
Personality and skills required for this position:
Of course there are the the rare few who are technically music prodigies and could obtain this job in their sleep, but for the majority there is a long, difficult journey to mastering a musical talent. Therefore people with a passion for music usually get better results. Sight reading, listening and performance skills are paramount for your audition. Musical knowledge is also important as you will be expected to play many different music genres. In terms of personality this career is easier for independent people that can make friends easily.
How to get into this career:
The two types of cruise ship musician positions are solo artist and orchestra/band member.
For both positions no degrees are required but you have to be able to play really well, sight read (especially if you want to be part of the band) and be ready for any situation they throw at you. It is however to ones advantage to have a degree, in this case the favorable degree to study is Music Performance.
Cruise ship musicians are usually scouted through agencies (one can find these agencies online). They then have to pass an audition, generally on Skype. Before auditioning you must have confidence in your performance skills, the best way to get the confidence is to get experience in real performance environments eg. pubs. If your audition goes well the job is yours and the contract negotiations begin.
The working hours:
This is a full time contracted job. Contracts usually last 6 months and then one can decide how long they want a break before boarding the ship once again. During their 6 months contracts the musicians live on the ship and are usually allowed off at every destination just like the guests.
As of 2018, cruise ships musicians are said to earn between $2200 and $3300 per month depending on the position and the cruise line.
-Your food, accommodation and health coverage are 100% accounted for while you are aboard. This is a great job to generate savings.
-You get to meet new people from all over the world.
-You’re getting paid to play music and travel all over the world.
-Some cruise ship musicians play for as little as two hours per day and the rest of the time is free for relaxing.
-There are additional, non-musical duties to face like participating in guiding guests in lifeboat safety drills. Also, when around guests, any cruise ship staff member has to be polite and ready for requests which can be tiring.
-Cabin fever (literally) and homesickness are frequent complaints of cruise ship employees.
-It is not an ideal job for maintaining personal, on-land relationships or personal projects.
-Your accommodation is a cabin… shared with another with another musician.
-Cruise ship musicians complain of actually getting bored as they have so much free time on their hands.
MY conclusion and rating on this career:
I love the sound of this career! Researching it did not change my positive perception of it. Getting paid to play music and travel sounds, to me, like living the dream. It is unfortunate for people who are in relationships as you are away from home for so long. But as I am a single 19 year old this doesn’t sound too bad… It’s a 9/10 from me!