Career Paths in Music

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The opportunities for a musician to succeed are so much larger than meets the eye.
Although sometimes glamorous and always exciting, being a musician isn’t the only career option in the field of music. Individuals can find themselves doing almost anything from headlining a major tour to teaching kids. 
It’s true that some of these careers might require functional knowledge outside of the core requirements of your music degree and possibly even require a specialized degree. For example, if you want to get a job as a grant writer for a music organization, working as an intern at a non-profit arts organization could provide you with the necessary skills for learning how to write grants. Also, taking a grant-writing class at your university could assist tremendously.
The following positions are some of the most common in music that provide individuals with an opportunity to pursue a passion, while also showcasing their talents, creativity, and skills.


A&R Representative: A&R reps typically work for record labels. In addition to managing and developing current talent, A&Rs also find new artists to work with and sign to the label. This process includes scouting out talent, reviewing demos, negotiating contracts, and helping artists make career decisions once they’ve signed on with the label.

Music Therapist: Music therapists utilize music as a form of treatment to help patients with psychological, developmental or emotional issues. They may work with the patient to compose songs, or play music while the patient engages in other therapeutic activities. Due to the universal nature of music, this type of therapy is often used with patients that have trouble communicating in a conventional way, such as young children or those with learning disabilities.

Music Composer: That catchy earworm from a commercial you heard the other day? A music composer is responsible for creating that tune. Music composers write or compose music for any number of needs, including movies, television shows, commercials, video games, orchestral concerts, and musical theater performances. They also frequently write song lyrics, play instruments, give music lessons and assist other musicians and artists to create or record music.

Instrumentalist:The title ‘instrumentalist’ is an all-encompassing term for a musician who plays one or more musical instruments. Where they play is practically limitless, and instrumentalists can be found in orchestras, bands, or as solo artists. They may also be primarily a touring artist and perform across the country and throughout they world, or they may be located in a primary location, such as a major city’s symphony. Job tasks may also include teaching others how to play via music lessons.

High school music teacher: High school music teachers work with students to either begin learning an instrument or advance their existing knowledge from previous classes. Areas of teaching vary but can include music appreciation, band (jazz, concert or marching), music theory, chorus, music composition, digital music, or a specific instrument such as guitar or piano. In addition to music instruction, these professionals may also teach another subject, such as drama or public speaking.

Music Journalist: Think about your favorite articles in Rolling Stone or Billboard and you’ll get a good sense of what a career in music journalism entails. Whether reporting on music-related news or producing longer form editorials, the life of a music journalist is varied and interesting. Pieces cover a range of topics, including forthcoming albums, tour reviews, interviews, or news within the industry. In order to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry, music journalists attend social events such as release parties and concerts, and rub elbows with notable individuals in the process.

Record Producer: An extremely popular, prestigious and coveted position, record producers work with their artists to pick the best songs, find the right studio for recording, and identify top musical support to create the album or record. This support team includes a music arranger, sound engineer and background singers or instrumentalists to contribute to the overall sound. Even after the recording is done, the record producer oversees the sound editing and makes decisions as to how the final product will be marketed.

Music Librarian: A music librarian organizes and oversees a wide collection of different types and forms of music, including both recorded and sheet. In addition to filing, cataloguing and archiving musical media, the librarian may also be asked to help choose certain types of music used in media to ensure it means requisite broadcasting standards and levels of sound quality.

ConductorAlso known as a maestro, conductors direct musical groups for the presentation and playing of a musical piece. At a minimum, a conductor will use hand and other gestures to control a group of instrumentalists or vocalists and ensure everyone is playing in the correct tempo, rhythm and style. Most conductors also spend time before a performance reviewing and studying a piece to be played so s/he knows the best way to conduct it, from either a technical or interpretive point of view. The world of music requires more than just talent. The following skills will be valuable to anyone who is seeking a career within the industry.

Musical gift: Many people enjoy writing, playing and listening to music, but that doesn’t mean they are exceptionally talented in it. A person needs to be very good at what they are doing to make a career out of it, especially in a competitive environment like the music industry.

 Many people enjoy writing, playing and listening to music, but that doesn’t mean they are exceptionally talented in it. A person needs to be very good at what they are doing to make a career out of it, especially in a competitive environment like the music industry.

Creativity: Much of an individual’s success in music comes from being original and creating something unique. Because careers in music generally have no set path, creativity is key. The most successful people working in the industry know where they want to be and that getting there may entail unexpected changes or exploring routes never envisioned before.

Networking: A career in music is especially unique in that it relies heavily on knowing the right people. To be successful, musicians and music professionals must be ready to promote their own work and ask acquaintances or colleagues to put a good word for them.

Patience: It might take a while to get that big break or land a dream job in music, with some of the most successful music icons spending over a decade honing their craft before gaining fame. There will likely be many failures and rejections along with the way, in addition to working less exciting jobs to pay the bills. Reaching professional and musical goals takes time, so the majority of people who succeed in this arena do it for the pure love of music.

Hard work: Even with knowing the right people and having amazing talent, hard work is still very important for jobs in music, especially for careers as instrumentalists, conductors or vocalists. Author Malcolm Gladwell espouses the idea of the 10,000 hour rule, stating that to truly become exceptional at something, a person needs to practice at least 10,000 hours. Putting that amount of time toward anything requires discipline, concentration, perseverance, and plenty of hard work.

Tarang Music and Dance Academy provides classes on Piano, Guitar, Western-Dance and Indian Classical Kathak Classes in Delhi. Tarang Music and Dance …

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