Musical Careers that Pay Well

Dec 14, 2017

Individuals who are interested in pursuing high-paying careers that involve music have a number of options to choose from. We will discuss educational requirements for these careers, as well as what each career entails.

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Musical Careers That Pay Well

There are a number of career options that involve working with music that also offer salaries that are considerably higher than the 2016 national median salary of $37,040. Below, we will look at five of these careers and discuss what type of education or training is necessary to obtain them. In addition, we will explore what an individual with one of these jobs would be expected to do on a day-to-day basis.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Music Director/Composer $50,110 6%
Postsecondary Music Teacher $68,650 12%
Musician/Singer $25.15 (hourly) 7%
Choreographer $23.19 (hourly) 3%
Music Producer $49,867** 12% (for all directors and producers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Information About Musical Careers That Pay Well

Music Director/Composer

As a music director, you will typically be responsible for leading various types of musical and performing groups, like choirs and orchestras. Composers are individuals who write music that these musical groups perform and they are also often employed to write music for films, television shows, and commercials. These professionals made a median salary of $50,110 per year in 2016, though there is potential to make significantly more as the top ten percent of these individuals earned over $106,700. To become a music director or composer, you will generally need a bachelor's or master's degree in a field like music theory or composition, though some composers may not need a formal education.

Postsecondary Music Teacher

You could pursue a career as a professor of music at the postsecondary level if you have a passion for teaching. This role would involve you leading music-related courses like music theory, composition, performance, and music history, as well as assigning homework, administering exams, and working with students who are interested in pursuing a music-related career. In 2016, these professionals made a median annual salary of $68,650, which is almost double the national median salary for all occupations. To become a postsecondary music teacher, you will generally need to obtain a master's degree in a field related to music.


As a musician or singer, your job will entail giving musical performances in front of audiences, writing music, and recording music to create albums and records. Depending on what type musician or singer you are, you may be employed by a large organization like an orchestra or choir, or you may perform as a solo artist or in a band. While pay for these professionals in 2016 was $25.15 per hour, it is possible for musicians and singers to earn significantly more, as the top ten percent earned over $68.12 per hour. Classical musicians and performers typically need a formal degree in music, while popular musicians do not need formal training.


Choreographers are often employed by dance companies or schools and are in charge of creating choreography that is set to music and then teaching it to dancers. Some choreographers may specialize in a specific style of dance or music, like classical, opera, or hip-hop. Choreographers made a median hourly wage of $23.19 in 2016 and the top ten percent of this field earned an hourly wage of $45.39 per hour, so it is possible to earn a high salary in this role. Choreographers typically have training as a dancer, and training varies depending on the type of dance, as ballet requires students to begin training at a very early age while modern dancers may not begin lessons and training until high school.

Music Producer

You may also be interested in working as a music producer, which would involve working with musicians and singers to create music. Music producers are responsible for using various types of music production software to piece together all of the elements of a song or recording, like the vocal track, piano track, and guitar track, to create a finished product. In 2017, the median salary for music producers was $49,867 though salaries for this profession range widely as the top ten percent of workers in the field earned over $110,000. To become a music producer, it may be helpful to have a background in music or a formal degree in a music-related field though there are no specific requirements.

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