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How To Succeed as an Actor that is also a Musician

There are a lot of actor-musician shows across the country , which makes it hard to define the separation from entertainers, musicians, theatre, musicals and live gigs. The popularity of the multi skilled actor musician has grown rapidly over the past 10 to 15 years making it the on trend for the general public’s enjoyment.

Of course its not new thing but it certainly took off and got noticed when Enda Walsh’s Once picked up a million awards after being on Broadway.

What skills are required to be an actor-musician?

Well its intense so you should not enter this unless you are fully committed. It will be expected that you can play more than one instrument during a performance. Maybe you are a rather good guitarist as well as a strong actor but does this qualify you as an actor- musician? In a word…No. You need to be more than good performing with several instruments. As we said, you need to be fully committed!

An accomplished actor-musician needs to be able to move as well as play because It’s not unusual for shows to have instruments as part of the choreography. This means not only do you need to learn your lines, sing and dance but also the moves with an instrument in your hand.

Its not all about being the absolute best singer, dancer, actor or musician but you need to be skilled at everything and be able to put it all together in a show. Personality and stamina play an important part to because you are presenting yourself as the Daley Thompson of the production world. Actor-musician’s work harder than anyone else in a show and it’s not uncommon to get just one two-minute break offstage for a toilet break during each act.

You need to be flexible and embrace the fact that whilst you bring the skills of a great drummer and guitarist to the table you might need to learn the trumpet. There is no doubt that having the ‘ear’ for music is of huge importance.

A can-do attitude will get you far along with energy, enthusiasm and adaptability but you need to focus on at least one “main” instrument to show off your skills at an audition.

The core instruments to explore

• Guitar (electric and acoustic)
• Bass
• Piano/keyboard
• Percussion
• Saxophone
• Violin

This is not an exclusive list of course as many shows require different instruments but it’s a great starter to have 2 or 3 of these under you belt when you go for an audition as an actor-musician.