Music Careers

For many people, the goal of attending music school is to be able to make a living as a performer. Unfortunately, most musicians can’t put together a fulltime income from performing on stage. Performances are erratically scheduled, so there is no guarantee of a steady weekly income. Unless you happen to sign a record deal worth millions of dollars, you’ll likely need to find an alternative way of paying the bills.

Some of the possible careers that are well suited to the talents of a music school graduate include:

Music Director

If you love to watch movies, you may be interested in using your music school education to work as a music director. music directors help choose music that sets the appropriate mood for a particular scene or the performance of a specific actor. music directors can also be referred to as music supervisors.

music director positions will be found in Hollywood, New York, and other locations where movies are being made. Entry-level positions in this aspect of the music profession typically require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited music school. Internship experience with a recording studio or the music department of a film studio is highly desirable as well.

Networking is especially important for success in this area, since music directors rely heavily on their personal connections and persuasive abilities when convincing people that a particular song is the right choice for a film.

It is also important for a music director to be familiar with copyright law and intellectual property law. A film must obtain all of the proper permissions to use a specific song or risk facing a very expensive lawsuit. For this reason, many music directors take additional courses in business or go on to earn a Master of Arts in music Business or music Technology. Having more education may also lead to a higher salary.

Recording Engineer

The primary responsibility of a recording engineer is to process, mix, and manipulate sound. A recording engineer takes the raw recording from an initial performance and transforms it into a finished song. Recording engineers can do such things as enhance vocals, make a bass line thicker, or add sound effects that give the recording a more polished feel.

As you might expect, recording engineers have to be familiar with computers and sophisticated audio technology. They must know how to combine computer software, microphones, speakers, and amplifiers to create specific effects, although trial and error often plays a part in the process as well.

A recording engineer isn’t singing or playing an instrument in the studio, but it is important to keep in mind that most recording engineers were once performers themselves. Having a solid knowledge of ‘al theory and the ability to make interpretive decisions regarding a particular piece is a necessity in this profession. Without a strong music school education, even the most advanced technical skills aren’t going to be enough to help you land your dream job.

Jobs for recording engineers can be found in music studios, radio stations, television shows, or advertising agencies. There are some fulltime positions available, but it is becoming more common for companies to seek out freelance engineers to complete specific projects. This means that you must be able to consistently market your talents in order to obtain a steady flow of work.


Despite the fact that he doesn’t actually play an instrument, the conductor is often considered to be the most important person in an orchestra. However, if you want to use your music school education to be a conductor, you should be aware that there is great deal of competition for these jobs.

The conductor’s job is often misunderstood by the general public. During a performance, the conductor uses his baton to indicate the beat of the music. When an orchestra is rehearsing, the conductor is responsible for making decisions regarding the interpretation of a piece. The conductor decides whether the music should be fast, slow, soft or loud. The conductor may also be responsible for business decisions regarding the orchestra, such as which musicians should be hired for a performance.

Conductors can work for small regional orchestras or larger national orchestras and will often be required to go on tour with the performers. Some conductors work with youth orchestras, which requires taking into consideration the special needs of young musicians.

The average salary for an orchestra conductor is about $40,000 per year, although it is possible for the conductor of a prestigious orchestra such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and or New York’s Metropolitan Opera to make several million dollars per year.

Music Educator

Teaching others how to sing or play an investment can be a wonderful way to make use of your music school education. If you’re interested in teaching music, you have many different options available. You can teach elementary, middle school, or high school music at a public or private school if you have a B.A. and a teaching certificate. If you have a master’s degree, you can teach music at a college or specialized music school. The average K-12 teacher’s salary is around $40,000, while a music professor’s salary is around $60,000.

Sometimes, music school graduates aren’t interested in obtaining fulltime jobs in music education because they want a flexible schedule that allows for time to audition and perform on their own. In this case, providing one-on-one lessons for people who are interested in developing their skills in a specific area can be a good option. With this type of arrangement, there is a fee for each lesson and the teacher is usually considered a self-employed business owner. There are specific tax liability issues to consider with giving music lessons, so you will want to consult an accountant for details before starting to work in this area.

Whether you choose to accept a fulltime teaching position or give private lessons, you must have excellent communication skills in order to be a successful music teacher. You must also be a patient person, since some of your students will undoubtedly take longer than expected to master the material.

' Careers

Choir Director

If your faith is important to you, consider using your music school education to obtain a position as a choir director. Although this position is not considered as glamorous as working in a recording studio or being a music director for a major motion picture, a choir director’s job can provide great personal fulfillment.

A choir director works for a church to help choose music for the choir’s participation in Sunday worship services and special events, such as a Christmas pageant or a fundraiser for the church mission trip. Depending upon the size of the church, the choir director may also coordinate activities for a separate youth choir. In addition, some choir directors are expected to work with the pastor to help choose hymns to be sung by the congregation at large.

A choir director must possess many of the same qualities as a music educator. Members of the church choir will not be professional musicians and will come from many different backgrounds. In addition to being an accomplished ‘ian, a choir director must be able to communicate in a way that helps all of the choir members advance their skills as they rehearse for performances.

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited music school and active participation in church activities are considered to be prerequisites for seeking employment as a choir director. As you might expect, choir director jobs tend to be available on a part-time basis only. Depending upon the policies of the church, a choir director will either be paid a specified monthly salary or a per hour rate.

Music Therapist

A music therapist uses his music school education and knowledge of psychology to incorporate music into a therapeutic healthcare setting. As any successful musician knows, music can help people express feelings and emotions in ways that ordinary words cannot.

Music therapists work with people of all ages. They can develop treatment plans for people suffering from mental retardation, physical disabilities, psychiatric disorders, developmental delays, or neurological impairments.

Music therapists can find employment in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, daycare facilities, schools, and private practices. In most employment settings, they are considered to be part of a team of healthcare professionals working toward developing a therapeutic treatment plan for a specific client.

Salaries for music therapists will vary based on experience, location, and the type of employer. However, most music therapists earn between $30,000 and $45,000 per year.

To be a successful music therapist, you must have a passion for helping others. You must be sensitive and empathetic in dealing with people who suffer from a wide range of medical conditions. You must also be able to handle stress well, since you will frequently be working with people who won’t respond to treatment in the way you had hoped.

While it is possible to obtain employment as a music therapist with a bachelor’s degree, many companies are now requesting that candidates obtain a master’s degree in music therapy. Involvement in the American Music Therapy Association is recommended, as there are frequently new developments in this field that you must be aware of when seeking employment opportunities.

Concert Musician

Many young people choose to attend music school with the goal of someday working as concert musicians. A concert musician performs for an audience as a solo act or as part of band. A concert musician specializes in a particular type of music, such as country, rock, pop, or jazz. Concert musicians can play at night clubs, entertainment centers, recital halls, stadiums, or parks. In most cases, concert musicians also have albums that they are promoting.

The life of a concert musician often seems glamorous, but the work can be very stressful. You will be expected to work long hours and to travel frequently, which makes it hard to juggle responsibilities at home. musicians must also give interviews to the media and deal with reviews that may not always be complimentary.

Being a concert musician can be profitable, but it is not a path to guaranteed financial success. Even when a concert ticket is $100 or more, there are many expenses associated with the show. A concert requires advertising, people to set up the stage, people to sell concessions, and people to provide security. The performer receives a percentage of the profits that are generated after all of these expenses are taken into consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a concert musician after music school, it is important to get as much experience performing as possible. You need to develop a strong stage presence and a reputation as a popular performer, even if you’re not getting paid for every initial gig. Hiring a manager is generally not considered necessary at the early stages of your career, especially since online social networking has made it easier than ever to generate publicity for new performer.

Session Musician

A session musician isn’t a permanent part of the band, but this does not mean his work is unimportant. The session musician backs up the main recording artist or helps fill out the band, which is often vital to creating a performance that the audience will appreciate.

To be successful as a session musician, you must be flexible and open minded. Session musicians work on many different types of projects, so every day is likely to be different. You must also be skilled at sight reading music, since you may not get much time to rehearse before you must perform. It is also a good idea to be able to sing backing vocals in addition to being able to play an instrument, because this will make you qualified for a wider range of employment opportunities.

Competition is high for session musician jobs, with most focused on large cities such as Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York. Networking with recording studios is important if you want to use your music school education for a career in this area. Many jobs are filled by word of mouth, so having a reputation as a talented and enthusiastic musician is essential.

Pay rates for session musicians vary widely, but are often regulated by groups such as the musicians’ Union or the American Federation of musicians. When working as a session musician, keep in mind that you are signing away your future rights to the recording. If you work on an album that happens to go platinum, you won’t receive any additional compensation for your performance.


Becoming a music critic can be an excellent way to put your music school education to use, especially if you would like a flexible job that leaves you time for auditions and performances. Music critics are needed to write for magazines, newspapers, and websites. Most music critics are employed on a freelance basis and work for several different publications.

To be a successful music critic, you need to have a good ear for music and understand popular trends in this area. You must also be an excellent writer. Although publications have editors to review your work before it is published, you can’t turn in a piece with careless mistakes and expect to be offered additional assignments.

In addition to writing reviews, critics are sometimes asked to conduct interviews with performers and prepare feature articles for the publication. This can be a great way to network with other musicians and land additional employment opportunities for yourself.

Most critics will be paid either a per-article rate or a per-word rate. Free tickets to performances may also be included as part of the assignment. Larger publications will pay more than smaller media outlets, but it will be easier for a new critic to find work at a smaller newspaper, magazine, or website.

The best way to get started as a music critic is to send a resume and a selection of sample reviews to publications in your area. Since published clips are viewed in a more favorable light, it is often a good idea for an aspiring music critic to create a blog where he can share his thoughts on various performances.


Songwriters use the knowledge they acquired in music school to create songs for a variety of uses. Some songwriters prepare material for other performers. Songwriters may also create songs for music, film, or theater productions. Advertising is another possible area that can make use of a songwriter’s talents.

A successful songwriter needs to be able to understand melody, harmony, rhythm, and tone in order to create a song. Songwriters must have a solid grasp of music theory. Being able to sing and play an instrument is helpful as well, since it is common for a songwriter to be asked to prepare a sample performance for the person or business that commissioned the song.

Most songwriters make between $30,000 and $60,000 per year, but payment arrangements for songwriters can vary. Some songwriters are paid a flat fee, but others are given an advance and additional royalties after the song is formally released. The majority of songwriters work on a freelance basis. However, songwriters who work for advertising campaigns can be either freelancers or regular fulltime employees.

If you are interested in becoming a songwriter, it is important to network with as many people in the music industry as possible. Enter online songwriting contests and take part in professional organizations such as the National Association of Composers or the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals. Songwriting is a competitive business, so marketing your talents should be considered an important part of your job hunting strategy.

Music Publisher

A music publisher’s job is to make sure composers and songwriters receive the proper compensation when their songs are used commercially. music publishing companies specialize in publishing certain types of music, such as classical music or pop music.

Traditionally, music royalties are equally split between the publishing company and the songwriter or composer. This includes mechanical royalties for the sale of music, performance royalties for concerts, and synchronization royalties for when music is used in film or television.

To be successful as a music publisher, you need to understand how to create music and how to recognize what the public will like. Once you’ve found talented people to work with, you will help generate publicity by creating promotional materials and working to secure commissions for new work. Then, after the music has been created, you must take the steps that are needed to protect the intellectual property rights of composers and songwriters.

In music publishing, skills in marketing, advertising, and public relations are helpful. A background in business and law is also useful in addition to your music school training. If possible, consider completing a music publishing internship while you’re still in school. Although internships are typically unpaid, this experience will be vital in helping your resume stand out from the competition when you go to apply for entry-level jobs after graduation.

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