Career and Job Success in the Music Industry

Author: Peter Spellman   •   Course Code: OLART-400

Career and Job Success in the Music Industry is a course designed to help you gain insight into the seismic shifts in the music industry job market and extract universal success tenets that will help you become "future-proof." As a TechCrunch writer pointed out, “Of all industry roller coasters, the music industry must be the wildest.” Today’s music industry job seekers face unprecedented challenges and stresses. Long gone are the prescribed professional pathways and clear career tracks. Instead, we have a model of free agency, where you must decide for yourself how, when, and where to develop and deploy your talents. You must be able to effectively communicate, listen, and understand—and know how to find and leverage opportunities for employment and career advancement. This course will focus on four dimensions of career development: clarifying your professional value, focusing the opportunity lens, advancing personal growth strategies, and orchestrating a successful job search. Throughout the course, you will hear from Berklee alumni and employers about what it takes to succeed in the music industry in today’s climate of change.

This course fulfills a liberal arts requirement for the Bachelor of Professional Studies program. In addition, it fulfills the LHUM-400: Professional Development Seminar requirement for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Music program at the Boston campus.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand your career interests and what drives you to be successful
  • Assess your personal and professional goals, and articulate your value as a candidate of choice
  • Research, evaluate, and effectively manage your online identity/reputation
  • Communicate effectively in the workplace
  • Determine strategies to meet employers' expectations
  • Research and analyze targeted companies, industries, and career opportunities
  • Build relationships in a variety of settings
  • Interview successfully in different interview formats
  • Negotiate the right job offer
  • Explore competencies that support long-term professional success
  • Synthesize strategies for self-promotion as well as independent success, including the creation of a resume, cover letter, and other appropriate job search materials
  • Develop a career track based on macro goals and corresponding micro projects

Lesson 1: Setting Up Your Career Journal

  • Setting Up Your Career Journal
  • Your Current Career Issues
  • Setting Goals for Your Career and Internship

Lesson 2: Clarifying Your Professional Value

  • Personal Work Inventory
  • Discovering Your Communication Style
  • Check On Self: What’s Your Online I.D.?
  • Transferring/Translating Your Professional Value

Lesson 3: Building Successful Work Relationships

  • Relationships IQ
  • Making Your Boss Look Good
  • Conflict Resolution: Dealing with Difficult People
  • Expanding Your Cultural Intelligence

Lesson 4: Exploring Career Opportunities Today

  • Researching Career Paths
  • How Do Berklee Grads Earn a Living?
  • Where Are Today’s Opportunities?
  • The Grad School Option OR Deep Dive into One Career Path

Lesson 5: Success Models

  • Who Are Your Career Role Models?
  • Unusual Artist Role Models
  • Berklee Alumni Interview Project, Phase 1

Lesson 6: Discovering & Working Your Niche Distinction

  • Brand Radar
  • Embracing a Hybrid Career
  • Discovering Your Niche through Matrixing

Lesson 7: Intrapreneurship: Acting Self-Employed

  • Characteristics of the Intrapreneur
  • Company Cultures and Intrapreneurship
  • Creativity, Innovation, and You
  • How to Be an Inside Intrapreneur

Lesson 8: Organizing & Positioning Your Body of Work

  • Re-Visiting Brand "You"
  • Online Platforms for Displaying Your Work
  • Key Sales Tools: Your Resume
  • Key Sales Tools: Your Cover Letter

Lesson 9: Expanding Professional & Social Networks

  • Who Do You Know?
  • Improving Your Networking Skills
  • Using LinkedIn to Enhance Your Profile & Get Good Info
  • Networking Scenario

Lesson 10: From Intern to Employee & Employee to Promoted Employee

  • Careers, Jobs & Ways of Working: The Different Forms Your Work Can Take
  • De-Coding the Hidden Job Market
  • Reading a Company
  • Advancing in (or Beyond) Your Current Position

Lesson 11: Ready, Aim, Hire!: Creating Your Job Search Strategy

  • Being Strong in Your Job Search
  • Ready: Arranging Your Job Search
  • Aim: Targeting a Position
  • Hire: Rehearsing & Securing the Interview

Lesson 12: Composing Your Career Advancement Plan (MyCAP)

  • Crafting Your Personal Mission Statement
  • Creating Your Visibility Strategy
  • Growing Your Career With Intention

Peter Spellman


Peter Spellman is focused on helping people discover and express their potential as creative careerists. As former director of Berklee’s Career Development Center, Peter advised thousands of students and alumni, and facilitated collaboration among numerous college departments to ensure high-quality service to and engagement with the entire Berklee community.

He is the author of several handbooks on music career development, including The Self-Promoting Musician: Strategies for Independent Music Success (3rd ed. 2013, Berklee Press), Indie Business Power: A Step-By-Step Guide for 21st Century Music Entrepreneurs (2009, MBS Business Media), Plan Your Band! (2009, MBS Business Media), and Indie Marketing Power: The Resource Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing (3rd ed. 2012, MBS Business Media).

As a composer, Peter has scored films for the National Science Foundation and composed video game soundtracks for Massachusetts General Hospital. He has worked as an artist manager, booking agent, label director, and producer. With over 30 years of experience as a performing and recording artist, he brings this experience to Berklee in order to help students effectively bridge their college experience to real-world opportunities in their chosen field.

He also drums with the improvisational collective, Underwater Airport.

Joe Miglio


Dr. Joseph (Joe) Miglio, is currently in his ninth year as a faculty member at Berklee and is an Associate Professor of Music Business Management.

His areas of specialization are business design and delivery strategy, organizational development and learning assessment. Joe has spoken at conferences and consulted with a variety of higher education institutions on critical success areas such as instructional design and facilitative pedagogy, institutional planning and program review, faculty development, and competency- based learning assessment, and their impact on stakeholder effectiveness.

Joe was selected in 2012, to receive the 3rd Annual Distinguished Faculty Award for the Professional Education Division at Berklee, based on his outstanding commitment to teaching, dedication to his students, and contributions to the curriculum.

Joe has a Doctorate in Education from National Louis University in Chicago and is the creator of the Reflexive Engagement Method, a model of reflective inquiry for self-knowledge construction. He is currently engaged in two new projects: authoring a book, “The Rule of Yes" which looks at transpersonal understanding based on experiential learning opportunities; and conducting interview based research for a documentary entitled The Working Artist,” which will look at the daily practices and philosophies of artistry as process and product.


None required.

Required Textbooks

None required.

Software Requirements

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

  • Level
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    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
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