- Musicians, singers, and related workers play musical instruments, sing, compose or arrange music, or conduct groups in instrumental or vocal performances.
- They perform solo or as part of a group, mostly in front of live audiences in nightclubs, concert halls, and theaters.
- They also perform in recording or production studios for radio, TV, film, or video games.
- Regardless of the setting, they spend considerable time practicing alone and with their bands, orchestras, or other musical ensembles.
- Musicians play one or more musical instruments.
- Many musicians learn to play several related instruments and can perform equally well in several musical styles. Instrumental musicians, for example, may play in a symphony orchestra, rock group, or jazz combo one night, appear in another ensemble the next, and work in a studio band the following day.
- Some play a variety of string, brass, woodwind, or percussion instruments or electronic synthesizers.
- Singers use their knowledge of voice production, melody, and harmony to interpret music and text.
- They sing character parts or perform in their own individual styles.
- Singers often are classified according to their voice range—soprano, contralto, tenor, baritone, or bass—or by the type of music they sing, such as rock, pop, folk, opera, rap, or country.
- Music directors and conductors conduct, direct, plan, and lead instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups such as orchestras, choirs, and glee clubs.
- These leaders audition and select musicians, choose the music most appropriate for their talents and abilities, and direct rehearsals and performances.
- Choral directors lead choirs and glee clubs, sometimes working with a band or an orchestra conductor.
- Directors audition and select singers and lead them at rehearsals and performances to achieve harmony, rhythm, tempo, shading, and other desired musical effects.
- Composers create original music such as symphonies, operas, sonatas, radio and television jingles, film scores, and popular songs.
o They transcribe ideas into musical notation, using harmony, rhythm, melody, and tonal structure. o Although most composers and songwriters practice their craft on instruments and transcribe the notes with pen and paper, some use computer software to compose and edit their music.
- Arrangers transcribe and adapt musical compositions to a particular style for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individuals.
o Components of music—including tempo, volume, and the mix of instruments needed—are arranged to express the composer's message. o Although some arrangers write directly into a musical composition, others use computer software to make changes.
Other occupations that perform before audiences include: Actors; producers, and directors; Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers; Musicians, singers, and related workers.
Occupations directly involved in the production of dance programs include: Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers; Fashion designers; Set and exhibit designers;
- Talented individuals who are skilled in multiple instruments and musical styles will have the best job prospects.
- Growth in demand for musicians will generate a number of job opportunities, and many openings also will arise from the need to replace those who leave the field each year because they are unable to make a living solely as musicians or singers, as well as those who leave for other reasons.
- Competition for jobs as musicians, singers, and related workers—especially full-time jobs—is expected to be keen.
- The vast number of people with the desire to perform will continue to greatly exceed the number of openings.
- New musicians or singers will have their best chance of landing a job with smaller, community-based performing arts groups or as freelance artists.
- Instrumentalists should have better opportunities than singers because of a larger pool of work.
- Talented individuals who are skilled in multiple instruments or musical styles will have the best job prospects.
- However, talent alone is no guarantee of success: many people start out to become musicians or singers but leave the profession because they find the work difficult, the discipline demanding, and the long periods of intermittent unemployment a hardship.
Other occupations that require a technical knowledge of musical instruments include the following Musical instrument repairers and tuners.
Musicians, singers, and related workers are involved in the performing arts, as are the following workers Actors, producers, and directors; Announcers; Dancers and choreographers.
This career information is drawn from data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Singers usually start training when their voices mature. Participation in school musicals or choirs often provides good early training and experience. Composers and music directors usually require a bachelor's degree in a related field.
Formal training may be obtained through private study with an accomplished musician, in a college or university music program, or in a music conservatory.
A master's or doctoral degree usually is required to teach advanced music courses in colleges and universities; a bachelor's degree may be sufficient to teach basic courses.