Music was of great importance in both secular and sacred life in Tudor times. Musicians were supported by the Church, city and state, and particularly in royal and aristocratic courts. As interest in music widened, there were many more job opportunities and possibilities for apprenticeship. For example, there were now jobs for choirmasters, singers, teachers, composers, and instrument builders. The rising merchant class of the later Tudor period also gave rise to more musical patrons. With the invention of music printing, music books became more affordable and therefore more available.
Several of the Tudor kings and queens were skilled at the lute and Elizabeth I was particularly good at the virginals. Henry VIII was also a composer of several songs.