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Music as a major - jobs?

madeline20madeline20 Posts: 81Registered User Junior Member
edited February 2009 in Music Major
What kind of jobs can I do in the future, if study music as a major? I'm also planning to go to grad school. What about music management? Are the salaries low..?
Post edited by madeline20 on
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Replies to: Music as a major - jobs?

  • divasmomdivasmom Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    I'm not really sure what you want to study in music as a major. My son is in school for music, majoring in jazz studies, trumpet performance. My understanding is that everyone who is a music major must have some instrument, or voice, as their major area of study. With that being said, I would question your desire to major in music if job salary is your highest priority. Any of the arts are questionable at best with how much "money" you can make. There are so many areas to go into: performance, teaching, directing, management, agent, arranging, etc. I believe that your desire to be in the music industry has to be first and foremost, and the passion needs to be there. As you continue your studies, different interests will emerge to help you formulate which path to take, if you are unsure, leaning towards a couple of areas. Or undiscovered talents become apparent, such as arranging or composing. I can only share that my son has never spoken about the salary his path will take, only the avenues that he will be able to pursue musically. Give this some thought before making your decision. If the passion is not there to devote yourself to music, perhaps focusing on business or education with a minor in music would be more appealing. The hours spent studying, practicing, rehearsing, performing, take extreme dedication, and only that person that lives, eats and breaths music, will be able to forge ahead, without complaint, and succeed in this difficulty arena.
  • madeline20madeline20 Posts: 81Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you for the reply! I do have a passion for music, but probably taking a minor would be a better choise. And studying that what I like is the most important thing anyway, not the salary :)
  • swathmanswathman Posts: 36Registered User Junior Member
    Musicians invented unemployment.
  • divasmomdivasmom Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    How true. It's just so sad that our society does not give the credit or due, with respect to salaries to those that pursue the arts. These talented people spend endless hours perfecting their craft, have spent "thousands of dollars" to train, and in the end, can spend much time on the unemployment line. On the positive side, they are usually happy to continue to pursue their craft, and are grateful for any and all employment opportunities. I wish the best to all of our talented artists, musicians, actors, etc.
  • shortnsweetshortnsweet Posts: 81Registered User Junior Member
    look into Music Industry (the whole music business angle) for a possible second major or Music Education for teaching. University Southern California and Syracuse to name two have those options.

    Good luck.
  • joevjoev Posts: 2,924- Senior Member
    divasmom wrote:
    How true. It's just so sad that our society does not give the credit or due, with respect to salaries to those that pursue the arts. These talented people spend endless hours perfecting their craft, have spent "thousands of dollars" to train, and in the end, can spend much time on the unemployment line.

    If they play an instrument people will pay too see (guitar, drums, piano) or are really good (good enough for orchestras) then they get jobs and can make ends meet. But if they are just not good enough to make an orchestra, or play an instrument noone will pay to see, then they need to get another career. Equate music to baseball. Many people play baseball as children then the numbers slowly drop as kids get older all the way through high school and college. In the pros you only have the best of the best, some .001% of kids who started out playing it. If musicians would keep the same mindset, then it wouldn't be so bad. Unless they have money to burn, or are in the top one half of one percent in their instrument, why someone drops 40,000 a year to major in oboe performance is beyond me.
  • anothermom-w-qanothermom-w-q Posts: 1,125Registered User Senior Member
    Even the top players can struggle. Many members of professional symphony orchestras have to teach privately to supplement their saleries. And many orchestras are constantly trying to make ends meet themselves. Many of the top symphonic players find themselves renegotiating contracts every 4- 6 years. I have a relative in a high placed position in one of the top orchestras in the country, and 5 years ago when they were on strike he was out playing on the street.
    And if you don't get one of those top positions, and are freelancing, you will have times like June and December when you are turning down jobs, but many months inbetween where the times are lean.
    Go into music performance only if you can't imagine your life without the ability to perform. Otherwise, do something else, and take advantage of the many opportunities non-professionals have to perform.
  • ElliottsMomElliottsMom Posts: 362Registered User Member
    The realities of employment that you all have discussed is the reason that my eldest son (a jazz drummer) has decided to play music as an "extracurricular" in college while majoring in pre-law. He'd like to be an attorney for the music industry (freeing the world of Napsters I guess).
  • soozievtsoozievt Posts: 29,136Registered User, ! Senior Member
    ElliottsMom, there ARE jobs in that exact area. Without being too specific, a man in the audience of a show my D was in, approached us this summer about sharing about my D and her performance with a well known Broadway producer. The man (in the audience)'s current occupation is a high level executive in charge of Anti-Piracy for the largest music company in the world and his degree is in law. He has also represented some stars in this business. So, there is someone who has done a variety of things but he actually is dealing with Anti-Piracy in the music industry and is a lawyer by trade. When I read your post, it was like an exact match to what this man does. I read about it a bit since my D has been in ongoing contact with him after this encounter, and so I was interested in what he does, though he explained his background in terms of who he has represented prior to what he does now, etc.

    Susan
  • EricsmomEricsmom Posts: 1,224Registered User Senior Member
    ElliottsMom - Where does your eldest son go to college? We have friends whose son is a drummer and wants to go into the music business. They are looking at Belmont.
  • ElliottsMomElliottsMom Posts: 362Registered User Member
    My son is currently at a community college and is in the process of auditioning and transferring to Pt. Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. It's not really a powerhouse for music or law, but is respectable. He is unwavering in his desire to go to a christian college.
  • veteranmomveteranmom Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    My husband has a degree in theory & composition and my D is about to finish a master's degree in cello performance and her boyfriend just got a D.Mus. in composition. In other words, how to make a living at music is a very real question in our family. My husband has been: a musical theater music director, composer, conservatory administrator, accompanist, newspaper music critic, NPR music commentator, piano salesman, and classical programming consultant, not necessarily in that order. The boyfriend entirely supports himself (in Manhattan, no less) with several part-time teaching and accompanist jobs and a very lucrative sideline as a Finale-based music copyist. As for daughter, I'll let you know in a year. At the moment she plans to survive on freelance gigs, teaching, and hopefully an administrative job in a music-related business such as publicity or artist management. I think the main thing is to keep on keeping on. Lots of musicians can't stand the life and switch to steadier non-music work, but I've known a number of people who have managed to continue to play music as a semi-professional sideline.
  • lkf725lkf725 Posts: 4,781Registered User Senior Member
    What is music copyist? :confused:
    and only that person that lives, eats and breaths music, will be able to forge ahead, without complaint, and succeed in this difficulty arena.
    I know a few instances where people just happened onto a great job opportunity by sheer luck (of course, they were prepared for that opportunity, too.)
  • veteranmomveteranmom Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    A copyist turns compositions into music parts for the individual instruments. It used to be done by hand but is now done on computers. Many older composers have never learned the necessary programs (they're very complex) so they hire the job out.
  • veteranmomveteranmom Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    Unless you are one of the handful of players at the very pinnacle, the kind who get Avery Fisher Career Grants and sign with music management companies at age 18, you need to be prepared to hustle a living for yourself. It is possible, but you can't be the sort of person who is easily discouraged.
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