Music Professions Video: Becoming a Professional in the Musical Arts

Music Professions Video: Becoming a Professional in the Musical Arts Transcript

What are your impressions of a music career? If you're like many, you may instantly think of performing artists in the entertainment industry. Although many people do enjoy careers singing or playing musical instruments, there are other opportunities within the field are often overlooked. Whether it's sound engineers, promoters or music management professionals, there are many behind-the-scenes roles within the music industry.


Musical arts professionals may occupy any number of positions in the production and distribution of music. Live performers, for example, sing or play instruments for the enjoyment of an audience. This may be in any number of settings, from small entertainment venues to large arenas and orchestral halls. Many people behind the scenes support the performances of musicians, including sound professionals, stage operators and security staff. Others in the music industry may do their jobs without ever stepping into a concert venue. Record producers and engineering specialists work to prepare musicians' recordings in a studio setting for widespread release. Band managers, record executives, booking agents, distributors, and promoters help artists find their audience. Critics and others in the media also play an important role in bringing music to the public.

Typical Coursework

Requirements for music professionals can vary significantly depending upon the nature of one's position. Many musicians choose enhance their abilities through music programs available through universities and conservatories throughout the nation. These degree programs often incorporate studies in both the classroom and studio. Classroom instruction often focuses on music theory and composition. These methods are then applied in the studio where students can also develop individual styles.

Many other music professions fall behind the scences. Requirements for these positions can also vary significantly. For example, someone wishing to teach children in a public school is generally required to have a degree in a music discipline. Those working in music promotions may benefit from a four-year degree in marketing, business or a related field. Sound engineers and stage operators may receive all of the training they need in an associate program at a college or trade school.

Job Prospects

Because positions vary so widely within music, it's difficult to cite a common trend when it comes to prospects for employment. Competition for performers, for example, is very intense given the popularity of singer and musician careers. Bookings can be sporadic and pay poor, particularly for those who have not yet established a sound reputation. Other positions within the music industry are often just as competitive. Many graduates are willing to accept any entry-level position a major company might offer in the hope of eventually moving up. Prime positions as label executives, band managers and studio producers require many years of experience and a proven track record. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, there are many important music careers. Teaching is one such example with many professionals instructing students at primary, secondary and postsecondary levels.


Those in music careers are often passionate about their discipline, be it performing, promoting others' work or providing instruction in proper technique. A great deal of dedication is often required within these professions given their competitiveness. For those looking to enhance their credentials, some 600 music institutions throughout the country offer programming specifically designed to help graduates stand out from the crowd.


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