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Rock stars, pop divas, folk artists, jazz sensations, and kings of country. There are so many types of music in the world, from African drum beats to Chilean mountain flute tunes, from hard hitting punk rock to the hypnotic rhythm of the Australian didgeridoo. Music surrounds us, and so often our heroes are the people who write, record, and perform it.

But some musicians want nothing more than to become recording artists. Recording artists are singers, musicians, bands or groups who record their music, in order to get it on the radio, sell albums, win awards, play major festivals, and get their music out to as many fans as possible

Most people out there will admit to a secret fantasy about topping the charts, but very few of us are lucky enough to climb that high. Music is an extremely tough industry to get involved in, and only the most driven will choose to make music a career. That said, there are quite a few opportunities for musicians who want to play for love, and not for fame.

Musicians can find work as backup singers, or as session musicians, with record companies, playing on albums, or for commercials and movie scores. They may work as musicians in orchestras, or in restaurants, on staff with religious groups, or with dance schools, playing music during rehearsals or lessons. They may work as music teachers, composers, and arrangers, as well.
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Full Sail University - Online
Push Your Creativity To The Next Level
Programs Offered:
  • Music Business, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
  • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
It takes a lot of talent, patience, and energy to work as a professional musician. They must be dedicated to music, and willing to practice daily as well as promote themselves to producers, venue owners and other musicians They should feel comfortable in front of an audience, work well alone, and function within a band or orchestra situation as well. Musicians need to be creative, persistent, and willing to sacrifice some job stability for their art.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Practice
  • Write music and lyrics
  • Perform live
  • Record music
  • Besides performing there are many tasks a musician needs to complete to be successful. Musicians also spend time reading music, writing and revising music, and sharing ideas with band mates or members of the orchestra. Their hours can be long, and difficult, especially when touring, preparing for a show, or recording an album. They may meet with agents, conductors, and record company executives to discuss tours, promotions, or shows. They will travel, bringing the music to the fans, and they will encounter many types of people. Musicians can work outside if they choose to, or if they are commissioned to play an outdoor wedding or party, or are invited to play a festival.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Musicians can play in all sorts of places. They are found playing on subway platforms, in arenas, in a large orchestra, or in a jazz group. Where they play depends on the type of music they are involved in. Generally though, they play on a stage, or they may play in beautiful concert halls. They can be soloists, or work within a group. If they record their music, they will play in studios. They are usually self-employed, unless they are members of orchestras or work as session musicians for record labels.
  • Due to the difficult nature of the music industry, many musicians must work at another job part- or full-time to support their musical career.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Musicians can play in groups, or branch off on their own. They can play in back up bands, or with orchestras, jazz bands and ensembles, gathering experiences in order to be the soloist. They can become music teachers, conductors, arrangers, or composers. They may decide to start a recording label, open their own recording studio, or open up a club or a concert hall. They can also become managers, talent scouts, or become administrators for an orchestra.

  Educational Paths  
There are no educational requirements for those people interested in becoming musicians. Often, practice and experience are all it takes, but there are a lot of options for people looking for training. Universities offer degrees in music, and many colleges have diploma programs or courses. There are also lessons with conservatories, and private music teachers. Vocal coaches are helpful for people who want to improve their singing. Musicians never stop learning, as each new performance or jam session is different, with many opportunities to watch and listen to senior musicians play.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Full Sail University - Online
Push Your Creativity To The Next Level
Programs Offered:
  • Music Business, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
  • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
  • And more...

Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
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Los Angeles Film School

Get the career of your dreams with an education from the Los Angeles Film School.

Programs Offered:
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