How to Write a Music Bio

By Sarah Luebke
Republished with permission from Music Teachers Helper.com

60607384.redshoe-150x150Some of you may have seen the Boston Globe article last December about a Boston University voice teacher who had allegedly embellished career milestones on her personal bio, which had been posted on the university’s website and published in university programs and brochures. For a look at last month’s article, click here.

It can be tempting to write a bio that you think prospective students or even your colleagues want to read. Some voice teachers I met rank their past performing career as paramount in their bios, without much mention of their current career as teacher. For some of these teachers, it has been 15 or 20 years since their performing career, and you wonder where the information about their teaching is hidden. And, like Prof. Daniels and Boston University, you may take what little information there is on your career, and put it in an obscure if not totally truthful light.

As teachers who are always peddling their business to prospective students, it is important to write a bio that is honest, which fully discloses your qualifications as well as your accolades in the field of teaching. Here are a few tips on how to write a compelling, yet truthful biography.

1. Your professional bio should be a few paragraphs, and should not exceed one page. A short amount of information, left justified, is easier for the reader to digest and skim.

2. Always write your bio in third person. Refer to yourself by your name and “he/she” as appropriate. For example, “Ms. Smith is an active member of the Minnesota NATS organization.”

3. Not only do prospective students want to know what you do, but also whom you work with—because they might want to work with you! A professional bio should include a sentence or two about your business niche, as well as the types of students you may teach. Here you may also mention famous students you have worked with (over a longer period of time than one lesson), or the awards and honors your students have received recently.

4. Make sure you include a list of awards you have received. It is a good thing to advertize your talents and the organizations that recognize you for them, but again, keep this clear and honest.

5. Include names of organizations, clubs or associations to which you belong. These connections might lead to a connection with a potential student.

6. Include any professional certifications or designations you hold. Write out their names in full for clarification.

7. Have you written any articles, books, or blogs? Self-published or not, your works add to your level of professionalism and credibility.

8. Were you or your business featured on or mentioned in a newspaper article? Have you been a guest on any media show? Include this information, as this adds to your credibility and presence.

9. After you have written your bio, edit, edit, and edit again!

You may need to do a dozen revisions before you get it right. Eliminate extra words, use descriptive words, keep the sentences short yet varied in length, and have a variety of friends read it. Ask if the information is clear, if the bio was easy to digest, and if the information is not misleading. Make sure to revise your bio regularly to keep it up-to-date and refreshed.

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