What does a musician do?
Musicians play one or multiple musical instruments. Many learn to play various instruments that are related to each other. They often play many different musical styles. Some play numerous brass, string, percussion, or woodwind instruments. Musicians often play independently or as part of a group in a variety of settings such as concert halls, nightclubs, religious organizations, theaters, or in production or recording studios. Some play in rock groups, symphony orchestras, studio bands, jazz bands, or a combination of different groups. Musicians spend a great deal of time practicing by themselves and with their musical ensembles. Practicing helps them improve their skills and play their music more smoothly and reduce errors during performing.
Musicians usually perform at night and on the weekends and many travel to different venues. Sometimes musicians set up equipment such as amplifiers, speakers, keyboards, drums, guitar stands, and microphones and complete sound checks to make sure everything is working correctly.
What kind of training does a musician need?
Musicians need prolonged and extensive training and practice to gain the essential knowledge and skills. Most learn their skills through long-term training and many start playing an instrument during childhood. Some musicians train with accomplished musicians and others complete formal training offered by music conservatories, colleges, or universities. Courses usually include composition, music theory, conducting, music interpretation, and performance of a specific instrument. Most musicians continuously study music to stay up to date on new styles and update their skills.
What are the prospects for a career as a musician?
Employment of musician is projected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased demand for musicians in religious organizations, nightclubs, the Internet and other media will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition. Talented musicians who play multiple instruments or have different musical styles will have the best prospects. Job opportunities will also arise from the need to replace musicians who retire or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do musicians make?
As of September 2009, musicians with 1 to 4 years experience earned annual salaries between $23,226 and $55,824. Musicians with 5 to 9 years experience earned annual salaries between $22,200 and $61,200 (2).
A career as a musician is an excellent choice for people with a strong passion for music. Musicians must have a broad knowledge of styles of music and have great musical talent. Creativity, versatility, poise, and good presence on stage are essential qualities. Musicians must also have self-discipline and physical stamina. They must remain motivated and be able to handle anxiety when auditioning.