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Careers in Music

A career in music is one of the most rewarding and diverse occupations available. While some may tell you that there are few jobs available in the arts, the truth is that music careers are readily available to those with the skills, knowledge, and tenacity to succeed as professional musicians. This page is devoted to sharing some basic information about music careers as you consider whether or not you should pursue a degree in music. First, what you will find is that most music career fields involve music and some other skills set or knowledge base. You will also find that many professional musicians hold more than one job. Many performers, for example, sing or play their instruments in more than one ensemble, and teach private lessons on the side. Although this does not apply to all music careers, this was the case with Bach, Mozart, and Haydn hundreds of years ago, and this is the case for many musicians today.

Below, you will find a listing of the most commonly-accepted music careers. Rather than think of these only as music careers, think of them as broad music career categories, and each category contains multiple job possibilities. Click on each career title below to read more information about related job opportunities. Each link also spotlights APSU music department faculty in their various music career fields. As you read through this information, consider which music career is the best fit for you. Additional music career advising resources have been listed at the end of this website. This is not intended as an endorsement of these materials, just as an informational resource to help you make the best decision for you. Lastly, all of our music department faculty are well respected in their various careers and would be happy to talk with you more. Click here for music department faculty contact information.

Performance

Music Education

Pedagogy

Theory and Composition

Musicology and Ethnomusicology (Music History and World Music)

Worship or Sacred Music

Music Business

Music Technology

Conducting

Instrument Repair

If you are thinking about a degree or a career in music but need more information, there are a lot of resources that can help. A sample of music career books and online resources has been provided on our resources webpage. For more information about music careers, we encourage you to find any of these publications in your local bookstore, on-line retailer, or website. As you search for more information, be cautious of music career resources that are written by non-musicians. Sometimes a high school guidance counselor will have career advising information that is written by non-musicians and these publications typically present a very limited and inaccurate portrayal of music career opportunities. Also, watch-out for materials that are labeled “music career” but really only focus on music business or the music industry. These materials will usually fail to mention pedagogy, music education, music therapy and many other careers that are not part of the music recording industry. Finally, watch-out for any music career resource that says “anyone can become a professional musician.” Life as a professional musician takes hard work, diligence, practice, and patience. It is not for the faint of heart and, usually, only the dedicated are successful.