25 Musician Interview Questions
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 7 December 2022
Published 25 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
If you sing or play an instrument professionally, or are seeking to do so, then it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with what to expect when being interviewed. You might be interviewed by an events coordinator, radio host, bandleader or studio producer, and preparing yourself for what they may ask will help your interview go well. In this article, we discuss the most common musician interview questions that are asked and provide some model answers that will help you effectively communicate your abilities and potential.
10 general musician interview questions
In addition to more general musician interview questions that are not role-specific, you will likely face a lot of these types of questions at first. These are meant to give the interviewer an idea of your general demeanour, background and skills.
How did you first get into music?
What instruments can you play?
Where do you see your musical career in 10 years?
Which instrument is your favourite to play?
Which instrument is your least favourite to play?
What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
What would you say is your greatest weakness as an artist?
Who is your favourite musician?
What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?
What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?
Keep in mind that many of the above questions are descriptive, meaning the interviewer is asking you to identify something (like your favourite instrument). You will likely also be asked to explain why you gave certain answers, so be sure to prepare for “why” as well as “what” for musical-related questions.
15 specific musician interview questions
In addition to the questions listed above, you'll also find that interviewers try to identify your strengths and weaknesses with more specific musician interview questions. Some of these questions will be related to your abilities and preferences as an artist, while others will be related to your professionalism and previous experience.
What is your creative process when making music?
Tell me about your top performances.
Who would you most like to collaborate with artistically?
Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
Have you ever taught or mentored another musician?
What was your worst performance?
How do you deal with disinterested or unruly audiences?
Do you prefer to work alone or collaboratively?
What are your favourite venues to perform at?
What inspires you as an artist?
How do you nurture your own creativity?
Do you have trouble with performance anxiety?
What are your favourite musical genres, and are there any you dislike?
How do you differ from most other artists?
How do you think your previous bandmates would describe you?
These musician interview questions may also be followed with a request for you to clarify or justify your responses. Generally, you should try to avoid giving generic answers, as this will prevent you from standing out. Take the time to look at these questions and think of answers that are honest, personal and concise. As we will see in some of the examples below, there are certain traps to avoid.
Musician interview questions and example answers
In the following section, we will go over some of the musician interview questions listed above and provide examples of good answers. This should help you better prepare for your interview. Remember that interviewers are asking these questions to see what differentiates you from others, so your answers need to be concise and distinct.
1. Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
This musician interview question can tell the interviewer a lot about your aspirations, in addition to your musical background. They want to know what motivates and inspires you. You should effectively communicate your teacher's positive attributes and how you try to embody them.
Example: 'I would say that the instructor that influenced me the most was my first piano teacher, who taught me from the age of six. He was very patient and understanding, but you could see the passion he felt for the piano. Whenever I was struggling with a piece of music or technique, he always knew how to alter his approach to help me get to grips with it. Thanks to him, I learned that there is no single correct way of approaching things, and I try to remember this when I instruct my own students.'
2. What was your worst performance?
Your interviewer will be interested to know how aware you are of your own performances. Being able to both acknowledge a particularly bad performance, and identify why it went wrong, can show your interviewer that you are introspective and capable of learning from past mistakes in this example of a musician interview question.
Example: 'My worst performance was probably the first time I had to perform with my band at university. I hadn't performed in front of a large audience like that before and was a lot more nervous than I expected to be. I kept playing out of rhythm, which made it even more difficult for the rest of the band, and we were laughed off the stage. It haunted me for months, but I eventually came to regard it as a funny story. Being able to laugh at my own mistakes now helps me stay relaxed during performances.'
3. What are your favourite musical genres, and are there any you dislike?
You want to be careful with the second part of this musician interview question. As musical taste is very subjective, you want to avoid potentially offending your interviewer's taste. Of course, if you already know more about this beforehand, you can respond accordingly. That aside, you should stick to positive answers. Even if you dislike a particular genre, you should try to show you have a nuanced way of looking at it.
Example: 'As a singer, my favourite musical genre would be Romantic-era opera, particularly Rossini. His ability to make music that both sounds wonderful but also conveys a sense of comedy makes for really enjoyable performances. For listening, I would have to name classic rock as my favourite, simply because that's what I grew up with. I wouldn't say that there are any genres I outright dislike. For example, I don't listen to or perform jazz, but studying it was an invaluable lesson in music theory.'
4. What would you say is your greatest weakness as an artist?
Many interviewees have fallen into the trap of trying to avoid answering this musician interview question. Even worse, some will give predictable or generic answers, like “I'm too much of a perfectionist with my music” or “I feel like my performances are never good enough”. This is very transparent and will not impress your interviewer. Rather, highlight a real weakness of yours that is not too serious. This shows the interviewer that you have self-awareness, and that your weaknesses are not excessive. This may differ based on the role you are being interviewed for.
This is also a question that you should answer without too much elaboration. Going into too much detail, such as downplaying the weakness, may appear unconfident. Instead, focus on elaborating on how you're working to overcome your weakness.
Example: 'My greatest weakness is probably sight-reading: I struggle to read sheet music at great speed. So, whenever I am learning a new piece, I have to go through it several times to pick it up properly. This means I spend a lot more time getting to know a new piece before I am comfortable with it.'
5. What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?
This can be a tricky question. Depending on how far into your musical career you are, you may feel like your most impressive achievements are yet to come. On the other hand, you may have trouble choosing between certain accomplishments. Try to select an achievement that is both objectively laudable, and also means a lot to you personally. Showing your passion can be just as important as displaying your skills.
Example: 'When I was 22 years old, I entered a violin competition, which I won with a performance of Bach's Chaconne. I actually didn't play it perfectly, but the judges awarded me the first prize for my unique interpretation of the piece. Being able to play a famously difficult piece like that, and add my own interpretation to it, confirmed that I had made the right career choice.'
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