Jobs for Music Lovers

German writer Heinrich Heine once wrote that ~'where words end, music begins~'. This quote captures a near universal experience of anyone who is musically inclined, and if it resonates with you, a musical career might be a great fit! This article gives a brief overview of several practical job options for the enthusiastic music lover.

Career Options for Music Lovers

The music industry is a notoriously difficult place to make a living, but there are many other career options and opportunities for the musically inclined in addition to performing and recording. Here are several career options for you, including a couple you might not have thought of just yet!

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Sound Engineering Technician $52,390 6%
Music Director (Conductor) $49,630 (for Music Directors and Composers) 6% (for Music Directors and Composers)
Musicians and Singers $28.15 per hour 6%
Wedding DJ $27,720 (for Public Address System and Other Announcers) 2% (for Public Address System and Other Announcers)
Music Teacher $60,320 (for all Secondary School Teachers) 8% (for all Secondary School Teachers)
Music Professor $69,960 (for Art, Drama, and Music Professors) 12% (for Art, Drama, and Music Professors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Statistics

Career Information for Music Lovers

Sound Engineering Technician

Sound engineering technicians setup, maintain, and operate audio equipment for sound recordings, live concerts, or film and television production. A sound engineer typically holds a certificate or diploma in the subject. This job could be a good fit for someone who has a passion for music but prefers a more behind the scenes role.

Music Director (Conductor)

A music director, typically called a conductor, leads an orchestra or other large musical group by selecting and interpreting repertoire, directing rehearsals, and auditioning new performers. Additionally, the director of a musical group is often the face of an organization and will take on extra responsibilities, such as meeting with potential donors and fundraising. A music director must possess at minimum a bachelor's degree in music and often will need a master's degree for more advanced positions directing symphony orchestras.


The career path of a professional musician is rarely a straight forward one, and there are no real education requirements. The first prerequisite for obtaining employment as a musician is a high level of proficiency as a singer or on one or more instruments. Next, you can either strike out solo or audition for a position in an orchestra, choir, or band. One common option to supplement a musician's income is to take on gigs as a session musician, meaning you play as backup on someone else's recording. These days, learning how to market yourself is essential for a working musician; this is often done through either social media or a personal website.

Wedding DJ

A mobile disc jockey or emcee makes their living acting as the master of ceremonies for weddings, private parties, or clubs. A wedding DJ may be employed by an agency or work as a freelancer, gaining clients through word of mouth or through social media tools. Formal education is not required for this career; however, some familiarity with different audio equipment will come in handy. Jobs for these and other types of public systems announcers are expected to grow slower than most occupations, but it will never fully disappear as demand for a dedicated event emcee remains consistent.

Music Teacher

An elementary or high school music teacher teaches classes in foundational musical technique and tracks students' progress. They could also direct a school's wind and/or jazz ensembles. This career typically requires the completion of a specialized bachelor's degree in music education, or a music degree followed by a teacher education program.

Music Instructor

A university music instructor lectures on music theory and history, teaches their instrument of choice, and (sometimes) leads university ensembles. A music professor has acquired a high level of education and sophistication in their chosen instrumental or vocal area. It is common for a professor to hold at least a master's degree. A PhD or DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) is typically the highest degree achieved. Of all the careers listed thus far, this path involves the most years in education, and tenure track positions can be very competitive.

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