A career in the music industry can be difficult--long periods of unemployment, unpredictable hours, low salaries, and frequent bouts of rejection. But for those with talent and passion for music, the trials and tribulations are worth it.
What Are My Career Options in Music?
Not all music industry professionals are singers or musicians. Other jobs include:
- Composers, who create original music for symphonies or media
- Music directors or conductors, who direct, plan, and conduct performances by symphonies, choirs, or musical troupes
- Arrangers, who adapt pieces of music for particular uses
- Music teachers, who instruct others in vocal or instrumental performance, or in understanding and appreciating music in general
- Producers, who identify musical talent and may record their work, distribute, and market it.
Do I Need a Music Degree?
Most musicians would agree that talent is more important than formal training. However, honing that talent through formal voice or instrument training programs is crucial for your career. Such music programs also enable budding musicians to get practice performing. If you want to work in the business of music, you need formal business training in addition to musical skills. And, of course, if your interests lie in teaching, you need at least a bachelor's degree, and likely a master's degree.
What Can I Expect From a Music Career?
The future of music careers isn't likely to change much in the coming years, which is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts average growth of about 8 percent through 2018. And although it's possible to make a lot of money in music, it's extremely rare; the median hourly salary for musicians in 2008 was $21.24.