How To Become The Ultimate Music Journalist (In 5 Steps)

How To Become The Ultimate Music Journalist (In 5 Steps)

Written by Jaron Lewis

There are many ways to become a music journalist. With the advent of technology, you don’t even need to work for a standard company. With all the different routes one can take, which is the right one for you? Here is how to become the ultimate music journalist in 5 steps.

1. Grammar And Writing Mechanics

Before putting pen to paper, remember, fundamentals are key. Even if you have a basic grasp of grammar, it won’t be enough to impress a potential employer. This is the basis for all forms of written journalism. Aside from grammar, writing mechanics and the ability to put your ideas together in a coherent and attractive way that readers will want to keep coming back to will be your bread and butter.

Most journalist choose to go to college for reasons such as this. Formal education is the best way to hone these skills as you’ll have professors to answer any questions and many opportunities to practice your craft; not to mention the opportunities to do other activities that will impress potential employers such as joining the school paper and working as a music journalist there.

2. College

However, college isn’t the only option anymore. Many journalist choose to learn as much as they can on their own. Grammar books and English workbooks will give you all the opportunity you need to hone the fundamentals, in addition to online resources to ask questions from other writers. Of course, working on your own will involve a lot more work as you must create a learning system that works for you and shows results. In the end, it’s all down to personal preference.

3. Keep Your Own Blog

Whether you’ve been to college or if you chose the self-starter route, keeping an online blog and updating it regularly is a great way to show off to employers. Not only does it show your writing prowess and journalism skills, but it also shows that you can write fresh content regularly. Use your blog to display what type of music you’re in and are comfortable writing about, as well as your writing style and interviewing skills.

4. Freelancing vs Staff Writing

As previously stated, there are many ways to break into music journalism. However, the two most popular ways are freelancing and staff writing. If you are looking for more control over the work you write, how much you work and networking, freelancing is the path for you. The only downside is that it isn’t always stable as you need to get your clients yourself.

The other option is staff writing. Opposing freelancing is a staff writing position. Writers are given stable pay, but they are also required to write based on topics given to them. Turnaround times become much more important as well as long hours. The grind is sometimes too much, so many people decide to work full time, using freelancing as supplemental income.

How to Adequately Review Music?

When reviewing a piece of music, whether it be an album or single, be sure to show what makes it good or bad. Details such as the production value, lyrics, melody, composition and the overall way the song was created are paramount in reviewing music. In addition, it must also be very descriptive. If you attended a live show, be sure to describe the performers, what they were doing and how the crowd reacted as well as their music.

5. Know How To Handle Criticism

This is an obvious point, but needs to be stated. As a writer, you will garner a “hate-base” of people who think you’re a quack. Because you’re reviewing someone else’s work, it’s only fair that the same be done to you.

Especially if you’re working on the internet, brace yourself for the most vitriol comments and hate speech that will be thrown at you. Take them in stride, but if it gets too much for you; simply don’t read them.



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