Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music.
Demonstrate ambition and showmanship.
Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
Be aware of and participate in open mic nights.
Auditions are generally required to join bands or get jobs.
Create a demo recording to submit agents or music companies.
Network with people in the industry to learn about potential jobs.
Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers.
K-12 schools, public and private
Colleges and universities
Children’s music programs: franchises, local
Self-employed (private instructor)
Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
Earn a graduate degree to teach in higher education. Specialize in an area such as music theory, composition, music history, etc.
Performance skill on one instrument or voice is required.
Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences.
Join the National Association for Music Education as a collegiate member.
Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.
Philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Armed Forces bands and orchestras
Musical theater companies
Develop superior musicianship and leadership.
Acquire extensive experience in performing groups.
Develop advanced site-reading skills.
Learn other languages such as French, German, Latin, and Italian.
Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.
Opportunities are extremely limited.
Composing / Arranging
Motion picture and television industries
Philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Musical theater groups
Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important.
Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary. Play an instrument in a professional arena.
Become familiar with all types of music productions.
Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers.
Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise.
Attend music conferences and workshops.
Seek grants and awards through foundations (e.g., National Endowment of the Arts).
Very few musicians earn living through composing.
Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.
Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perseverance is required!
Develop a variety of skills. Become “multitalented.”
As an undergraduate, gain as much experience as possible, paid or unpaid, through college and local organizations. Seek internships or volunteer positions with relevant organizations. Audition with local musical groups, choirs, or orchestras.
Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success in many arenas of music. Learn basic tools of self-promotion. Create a YouTube channel and post performance videos. Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds. Research the industry to learn which ones are appropriate.
Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules. It is important to consider how this will fit with your work and lifestyle values.
Conduct information interviews with people who work in the industry. Attend related professional conferences or events to network.