This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book introduces the cultural environment within which musician's work, with an overview of the cultural industries and a non-hierarchical look at the enormous variety of activities pursued by cultural practitioners. It considers historical aspects of life as a musician, followed by the employment characteristics of the present-day musician including gender issues, attrition and injury. The book explores the performance-based education and training, and examines the extent to which the realities of professional practice are reflected within existing performance-based programmes. At last it suggests that similarities between the practice of musicians and other artists offer the potential for the collaborative delivery of initial and ongoing education and training more reflective of the eclectic nature of musicians work. IThe book illustrates a non-hierarchical view of cultural practice that clearly indicates the potential for an exciting diversity of holistic practice.