What if I don't have a degree or diploma and don't know any ISM members either?

The ISM is a professional body and so you must be working in music at a professional level to join. To join, we ask that you follow one of our application 'routes' below:

  • Qualified route
  • Reference route
  • Fast-track route
  • Membership Officer approval route

If you do not have a degree-level qualification (NFQ Level 6) in music and you do not know any ISM members who could write a reference for you to verify that you are working in the profession, you may be able to join through our fast track our Membership Officer approval routes. If you satisfy the criteria below you can follow one of these routes to membership.

Fast track route

If you satisfy one of the following criteria please provide the name of the relevant ensemble, artist management company, record label, higher education institution or publisher on your application form.

  • You are booked or employed to play for an orchestra or are part of a professional freelance group or ensemble, musical theatre company or opera group
  • You are booked by any choir from the current list of professional/cathedral choirs and opera choruses
  • You are currently represented by a management company who is a member of IAMA (International Artist Managers’ Association)
  • You have a recording contract with a label which is a member of AIM (The Association of Independent Music) or the BPI (British Phonographic Industry)
  • You are music teaching staff at a higher education institution which offers a degree or equivalent with music as a significant component or who works in a specialist music school
  • Your compositions are published by a company which is a member of the MPA (Music Publishers Association)
  • You are or have been part of a young artist scheme on our fast-track list
  • You have won a recognised award on our fast-track list

Browse our fast-track list to find out if you're eligible to join through this route.

Membership Officer approval route

If you are working as a professional in the music sector you are eligible to join us through our Membership Officer approval scheme. As well as musicians working with any genre, music administrators are also very welcome to join via this route. Simply call our Membership Officer on 020 7221 3499 or email [email protected]. You have to be 18 or over to join the ISM.

In order to verify that you are a professional working in music, our Membership Officer will ask about your career including your experience and evidence of your work.

Alternatively, please contact us (020 7221 3499 or [email protected]) for help if you don't know any ISM members and we can find out whether there are ISM members in your area who could act as your referee.