Musical Office Illustration: Mayo Bous
Musical Office Illustration: Mayo Bous

Office: Music is my life ... what will I do when I graduate?

4 minutos / Darsi Fernández

01.04.2019 / Articles

While many of today's Cuban music students want to be full-time musicians, not all of them are so sure and not all will be able to do so, especially considering the immense number of them that Cuba forms each year at various levels and the notorious number of artists that arise from non-formal environments.  

On the other hand, there are those who are passionate about music, studied Law, Social Communication, Computer Science or Civil Engineering and, once the diploma is hung, they dream of working in an environment where music occupies the central place.

If you are in any of those cases, you may be asking yourself: "Once I graduate, what are the job opportunities I have?"

The excellent news is that the music industry in Cuba is in an almost primary stage, compared to the tremendous level of its artists and (although it does not always seem that way) of its conservatories and teachers. This means that, even with a solid supportive institutional environment, there is a great deal to be done, especially in those branches that are dedicated to the mediation between the musician and his audiences.

The Cuban musical ecosystem is made up of multiple institutions of national, provincial and community level. Several companies, agencies, research and development centers, museums, and record companies are organized under the Cuban Institute of Music; an institutional framework in which many people work, some of which studied music at different levels. Also in the radio and television environment there are abundant jobs that require a passion for music and more or less specialized knowledge: writers and directors of musical programs, advisers, curators of programming and audience analysts.  

Musical production, sound engineering -either in studio or live concert-, the manufacture or repair of instruments, scouting of artists, the organization and production of musical events, the management or management, programming or booking, curating events, communication and music criticism, marketing, music editing, are other clear options. In addition, there are many professions around the technical services to music (sound, scene, lighting, special effects of shows, etc.), not to mention that if you are a musician, but the composition is more solitary and with marked guidelines for a context, you have a whole world of possibilities in advertising, music for audiovisuals or videogames, areas still to be exploited in the Cuban context.  

As if that were not enough, the development of information and communications technologies that have impacted so much on the processes of music distribution and consumption has also created a lot of new professions, ranging from community management from artists to the maker of playlists or charts, going through the creator of podcasts and programming apps and algorithms for the distribution and consumption of music or its measurement; as well as new work environments such as distributors, channels, platforms and digital stores.

Moreover, in a changing Cuba, in which state structures tend to resize and readjust their profiles and missions, it is to be hoped that little by little the possibilities of legally developing small businesses and enterprises in the sector will be broadened. Without undoing the role of state institutions in the training of academic musicians, the protection of high-value music and minority consumption, the conservation of heritage and the care of the necessary balance that allows the broadest cultural consumption for all, these new actors will dynamize -they are already doing it- the music ecosystem and create new jobs.  

If music is truly your fundamental passion and you can not imagine working in another landscape, there is no need to worry. Before you, although right now you can not visualize it clearly, there are many paths, and in some of them you will achieve professionally and economically.

Darsi Fernández

Abogada. Hipervinculadora. Madre de un violinista. Organizadora nata. Mala memoria solo para lo que le conviene. Sueña con jubilarse a leer.

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    Reading the article -very well written and conceived- I do not stop thinking about how much of theory and reality, of the first much, very beautiful the dream of living linked to the passion that is music and find yourself facing a deserted and full scenario of possibilities ... Now, the harsh reality is that the panorama is deserted and full of spaces to fill because this is how it was conceived, agencies, entities, companies, that do nothing for the musicians because it does not suit them, a tight collar for keep control in the hands of them, of those who only apply the convenient speech to maintain the position, the world revolves around them and no account is given, then they discover the warm water and it's too late ... The musicians bleed a lot before reaching the public and most-or those who can-decide to try it elsewhere ... I'm sorry but that's the reality I know.

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