Making Music is Major


Since ancient times, music has been a fundamental part of society. Music allows us to express emotions, celebrate life, and relate to others. A music career might seem glamorous, but it actually requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion.

  You may be concerned that you won’t make a good living, and rightfully so because most music careers are only projected to grow about 5 percent over the next ten years and the average salary for a full-time musician is $47,000 per year.   Several musicians live gig by gig having several ongoing projects at once just to bring home a consistent income. A vocal performance major who now teaches high school music told CAA that unless you plan to teach music, you should consider another line of work. Some of her classmates had trouble finding jobs and many had to pursue other careers. So, keep an open mind and be creative because you may have to take on a second career until you make a name for yourself.  

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To be successful in the music field, you should carefully consider the different types of careers and the right educational path. First, consider something other than just becoming a musician like a music producer, music teacher, music therapist, or arts manager. Find a music mentor who has been successful in the area you want to pursue. A good mentor will give you advice, answer your questions, and help you evaluate your career goals.   Next, decide if you want a conservatory education or a liberal arts college. Conservatories tend to be very expensive and offer only specific arts-related majors. Smaller, liberal arts colleges can be more affordable but also offer a well-rounded college experience. Check out each school’s website for audition requirements and music selections so you will know their expected level of performance. If you can’t travel for your audition, you may be able to send in an audio/video file. Keep in mind that if you attend a liberal arts school you also have the option of simply minoring in music or participating in an ensemble for fun.   It’s also important to know your target market. Knowing what your fans want will help you sell your work. Step out of the traditional mindset and look for work that needs to be done. More industries are using music now, which creates more opportunities. In college, be sure to take some business and communication classes, because having a good business structure and using technology and social media can help you establish your presence.   During your time in college, you should find a project to work on in your field and intern at a music company to learn the business. Networking with other artists is a great way to promote yourself. Until then, you should learn music theory and basic piano, take music lessons, and practice, practice, practice!   CAA Coaches recommend that all students research their career choices fully, and as always, CAA clients are welcome to contact us with any career questions.