by Geraldine E. Harley
Not everyone who leaves Hogwarts goes onto a career in the Ministry or even a career in a magical area of employment. Some graduates decide to take different flights of fancy and that’s what I, Geraldine Harley, decided to do.
I graduated from Hogwarts last year, in 2021. I was in Ravenclaw house and I was a notoriously poor Ravenclaw, the only thing I ever had halfway decent marks on was Charms (and Muggle Studies) and was absolutely terrible at Transfigurations. In my fifth year, I transfigured a flock of birds into flying mustaches that attached to people’s faces… then Deputy Headmistress Professor Livius took fifty points from Ravenclaw and the Arithmancy Professor, Towler (I’m pretty sure that man was a Vampire, just saying…) took 10 points when I tried to argue back. It was terrible – I was terrible – and I knew well before then that I was not destined to a career in magic.
My father was a part-time musician and from a young age I learned to play the piano, violin, guitar, drums and a few other wind and string instruments. When I was a student at Hogwarts I would dedicate my ‘free’ time to practicing music, I pretty much taught myself to play guitar in fifth year. My older brother, Jake is also a prolific musician and when we were at Hogwarts together we would practice often. I used to prefer the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom because it had a gramophone (is it still there, I wonder?)
When my brother graduated he and his classmate, Marvolo Macbain decided to form a band and they moved to our hometown of Chicago, Illinois. I joined them two years later and along with an American friend of ours we’ve formed an electro-pop rock band. We play at a combination of Muggle and Wizarding venues throughout the country. Wizarding venues are especially fun, because we can incorporate magic into our act and we can be more of ourselves when we perform.
As a musician, our hours are long and we spend a lot of time on the road, away from home. Being a Wizard is helpful, we apparate constantly, as much as we can without raising suspicion from Muggles, but with our equipment it is difficult. So often have to charm things to be lighter, or decrease the size of bulky items so we can easily carry them. I think this is a discipline that could be translated to not just musicians but anyone looking to pursue a career in Arts and Entertainment after Hogwarts; Charms and Transfigurations will be your best friends. Also having a deep understand of Muggle Studies has helped. While you can make a career in the Wizarding world, the market is small and only a few select Artists really rise to the top, this is mainly because our community is small and tight-knit. So I’d recommend anyone looking for such a career to brush up in their Muggle studies and do their best to incorporate both worlds into their roster. You will find you will gain a bigger following and more revenue that way, just make sure you’re not breaking any International Laws in the process.
And since Hogwarts does not offer any certifications in Art and Music, it is best to seek out those professors who teach the subjects, ask them for private lessons, obtain letters of recommendation for when you leave you have some sort of paperwork showing your accomplishments. Practice, practice, practice, the best motivator you’re going to have is yourself. Work hard and you will see reward, it is not an easy career to go into and certainly an unusual one, but it is fulfilling and lots of fun. You set your own hours and you become your own boss, moreover you get to do something you love and share your music with the world.
I am a proud Hogwarts graduate, and I love being a Witch! But I also love making music and making Art and going against the norm. I encourage anyone at Hogwarts to do what they love to do, those that are truly dedicated will find they can, and still make a living out of it.