When thinking of music careers, musician and music teacher probably come to mind. But there are many careers within the music industry, including several behind-the-scenes roles that many don’t consider. And music doesn’t have to be an unstable or low-paying career path. Many music-related jobs pay six figures and offer great job security. Some great careers for music majors to consider:
Music therapists use music to improve the physical and emotional health of their patients or clients. They work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and mental health facilities. Music therapists can work one-on-one with individuals or with a group of patients. A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into the field. According to the American Music Therapy Association, the average annual salary for music therapists was $48,066 in 2010.
Private Teacher – Instrumental
A large percentage of kids take some form of private music lessons. Working independently as a private music teacher offers considerable independence and flexibility. They may choose to work out of their own homes, a studio, or a client’s home. They may also set their own hours and rates. Therefore, incomes can vary widely.
Private Voice Coach
As with private instrumental teaching, private voice coaches have greater independence in terms of how, when and where they work. Their salaries can vary widely, depending on the type of clientele they attract. Private coaches can earn considerable income by instructing professional singers.
Band Director/Assistant Director
Band directors work with middle and/or high school students, both as an instructor and music conductor. They may arrange concerts and programs for marching bands. Their work may involve out-of-town travel for concerts and competitions. They may also work nights conducting rehearsals or overseeing marching bands at school sporting events. According to Payscale.com, band directors in the United States earn a median annual salary of $44,888 as of December 11, 2014.
Music Teacher – Elementary School
Music teachers may teach a range of music-related topics, including music history or theory and instrumental instruction. A bachelor’s degree in music or music education is necessary, in addition to accreditation or certification. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for elementary school teachers was $53,090 in 2012.
Composers write and arrange music for orchestras, individual artists, or other music groups. Composers also write music for theatrical productions, movies, and TV. They may work out of their own homes, in recording studios, or in corporate offices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, composers earned a median annual wage of $47,350 in 2012.
Music Industry Public Relations Agent
Public relations agents or specialists are responsible for creating and maintaining a certain desired image for an individual, group, or organization. They may write and issue public statements, organize media events, and create advertising campaigns to promote a client’s image. Music public relations agents may work for recording studios, bands, or individual artists. For music majors wishing to work as PR agents, a minor or coursework in communications would be beneficial. According to MyPlan.com, PR specialists working in the arts and entertainment industry earned an average annual salary of $52,976 in 2012.
Music producers oversee the recording of songs or albums. Their responsibility is to supervise the entire recording process, from beginning to end. They may coach musicians in order to create the best sounds and arrangements. In addition, they are usually responsible for the audio mixing and the post-production mastering. An internship is a good way to get started in the industry, and technical knowledge is helpful for those wishing to produce music. According to Payscale.com, music producers earned a median annual wage of $49,409 as of December 2014.
Session musicians, also known as studio or backing musicians, backs other musicians in a recording studio or live performance. Session musicians work independently, so they have a great deal of independence and flexibility. Their pay varies widely depending on the artists they work with and the number of sessions they book. In order to be a successful session musician, one must maintain a strong network with artists and other music industry professionals.
For those with an eye for musical talent, recruiting is a great career option that can prove very lucrative. Recruiters and talent scouts make contact with potential talent, conduct auditions, negotiate contract terms, and schedule performances. They may also be responsible for financial management, hiring of trainers or coaches, and promotional activities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes earned a median annual wage of $64, 490 in 2013.
A music degree opens up a wide range of career options, from music production to public relations. For more information about careers in the music industry, read 100 Careers in the Music Business