Your music school coursework can help you develop your skills as a musician, but joining a professional association is a good way to learn more about what job opportunities will be available to you after graduation.
What Types of Professional Associations Are Available?
Some professional associations for musicians are focused on a particular style of music. Examples of these types of organizations include:
- Folk Alliance International
- Academy of Country Music
- Gospel Music Association
- American Symphony Orchestra League
- International Bluegrass Music Association
- International Polka Association
- International Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association, Inc.
- Jazz Interactions
Other professional associations for musicians are focused specific musical careers. If you know what type of job you hope to land after music school, you may want to consider joining one of the following groups:
- American Association for Music Therapy
- American Composers Alliance
- American Choral Directors Association
- Music Critics Association
- Music Teachers National Association
- Music Publishers Association of the United States
Many musicians are members of more than one organization. However, it is wise to ask yourself how much time you are willing to devote to professional development. It is better to be an active member of one group than a passive participant in three or four different music associations.
Joining a Music Association
As a music school student, you can typically join a professional association for a reduced rate. You may not have all of the privileges of a member who is actively working in the industry, but student membership can still be a good way to network with people who can help you land employment after you graduate. If the organization you wish to join does not have an active campus chapter at your music school, you may be able to join a nearby group or request permission to start a chapter of your own.
The fee for joining a professional association will vary, although most membership fees are between $25 and $100 per year. Some music organizations will provide discounts if you purchase a multiple-year membership. In addition, if you are an active member of the group as a student, you may be offered a reduced membership rate when you finish music school.
Benefits of Joining a Professional Association
Every group will offer slightly different member benefits, but some of the potential advantages of joining a professional association for musicians include:
- Subscriptions to magazines or other trade publications
- Conferences where you can meet music industry professionals
- Reduced tuition at seminars relating to your area of interest, such as techniques used in music therapy
- Access to exclusive job listings
- Online forums where you can connect with other members
- Discounts on professional services or music equipment