HELP MUSICIANS UK Where are they now? Post graduate music student research

Each year Help Musicians UK makes a substantial number of awards to post graduate music students around the UK. In 2016 HMUK commissioned the hub to carry out research into the career development of post graduate music students who have graduated in the past decade.

Our study focused on some 1800 applicants to HMUK’s post graduate awards programme, including those who received an award and those who didn’t. We used an online survey to gather data and intelligence about key aspects of their career and development, including earnings and debt levels, the shape and focus of their working lives, the challenges they face, how they rated their post graduate college experience, the impact HMUK support has had, their awareness of current HMUK activity, and how they felt the charity could better help musicians in the future. We also collected attitudinal feedback about some wider sector issues, such as the direction of travel in the music industry, and how well equipped they feel to weather that; the health of the live music sector; the social and economic value of music generally – and music education more particularly, and the health risks of pursuing a career as a musician.

Having analysed the survey data, we’ve put together a terrifically rich set of findings, which together create a really compelling narrative about what life looks like for these musicians, and how things have changed over the past decade. This in turn provides some real food for thought for HMUK about the future scope of its support for musicians at this stage in their careers, and we are currently busy working on a set of recommendations for the charity.

We expect our work on this to wrap up in late Spring, and will be working with HMUK to ensure that our findings are shared as widely as possible, so that they can have the maximum benefit.