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Guide to Writing Effective Bios for Musicians and other Performing Artists

There is no right way to construct a bio. The following information and examples will help get you started. 

What Is a Bio?

A "bio" is a biographical statement of your best credentials written in paragraph form. In a bio your experiences will be written in complete sentences and paragraphs which differs from a resume. It will include information to impress the reader and personal facts should be presented in the best possible light. A bio contains specific information that should celebrate and describe your accomplishments. 

Why Have a Bio?

A bio can serve many purposes. The main uses are generally for publicity and for getting performance work. Your reader is likely to be a potential employer, a competition judge, or the general public. There are many publicity uses for a bio including; printed programs, newspaper or magazine concert listings, summer festival applications, and concert flyers. When used in programs, a bio gives the audience a great impression of you before they even see you on stage. 

What Goes in a Bio?

A bio should include competitions, awards, scholarships, notable solo, ensemble, and orchestral performances, opera and choral performances, and summer festivals you have participated in. It should also include some personal information such as where you live now and where you grew up, as well as where and with whom you have studied. 

Other things to potentially use in a bio include; quotes from reference letters, famous artists you have performed with, well-known venues, professional organization affiliations, published articles, and upcoming projects.

How Do You Write a Bio? 

The first step to writing a bio is to list impressive experiences and personal facts. Have a specific focus in mind when constructing your bio (soloist, teacher, chamber musician), which will make writing it easier.

Next choose your most impressive credential and write a topic sentence. Remember, your education does not have to be the lead and not every experience has to be linked to a school experience. Also, avoid presenting information in chronological order.

After you have written a topic sentence, work to see what other items can be linked together in paragraphs. Then, draft paragraphs with the linked information. Items should be logically linked and remember to use smooth transitions between paragraphs. Make sure all general statements in your bio are backed up by specifics. Avoid long lists of experiences, three is best and try not to list more than 4 things in a row. 

A bio will always be written in third person (she/he and Ms./Mr., not "I"). Alternate the use of these in your paragraphs. It is also recommended that you double-space your bio. Have different versions of your bio including a long version, a medium version (5-10 sentences), and a minimal version (3-6 sentences). 

After you review your bio, get feedback from others. Remember, your bio, like your repertoire list and resume, is always a work in progress. The last step is to proofread, proofread, proofread and have at least three other people proofread your bio as well.

Common Phrases 

"Her 2002 season engagements include…"

"His primary studies are with … at The Boston Conservatory. He has also worked with… and coached with…"

"…received her training at…"

"His recent recital (opera, chamber, orchestral) performances include…"

"…has performed throughout the country, as well as in…,…, and…"

Helpful Hints

Composers: Describe the type of music you compose, link your style with well-known styles, and list types of works, influences and periods.

Vocalists: If you don't have a lot of experience you might want to list roles or repertoire you have prepared, but haven't publicly performed. 

Non-classical: Describe the type of music you play, list any standard composers, artist influences, and comparisons to other artists by teachers or critics.

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