Future careers for piano performance majors?

<p>I am well aware of the insecurity that comes from majoring in music. Graduates from schools as renowned a Juilliard struggle with finding jobs after graduation. But after researching the topic and reading many article online, I've found that it appears that the music major graduates who struggle the most are those who perform instruments other than piano and violin. So it would appear that majors in piano or violin performance have much higher success rates. </p>

<p>Is this true? Do piano performance majors have more job security after graduation? Or is this just a coincidence. </p>

<p>The reason why I ask is because I have been accepted into a notable conservatory for piano performance, but I'm a little skeptical of committing my entire college career toward a major that doesn't provide job security for even Juilliard graduates. I am a very talented player, but unless pianists have more job security than theses non-pianists Juilliard graduates, then I think I would rather major in something more practical. I have student loans to worry about, so job security is important to me. </p>

<p>So for people who have had experience with careers involving piano performance graduates, please help. Thank you.</p>

<p>For pianists, I think the job market is better than most people think. I used to have the same concern as you, but then I realized that many pianists make good money teaching private lessons. I’ve seen many pianists (without doctorate) teaching at community colleges as well as private lessons. </p>

<p>However, in my opinion, many graduates of prestigious schools like can take such job as humiliation. (“Oh you went to Juilliard, but you end up teaching kids?”)
Plus, most people who go to those prestigious schools plan on going all the way through doctorates anyways, after which they would secure a teaching position at universities. </p>

<p>I am a piano major at an average school, and I want to successfully operate my own private piano studio.</p>

<p>I think when it comes to music careers you have to be very careful about career paths or which paths are more secure and so forth. For example, common perception might be that getting a Music Ed degree would be more stable then performance, but given how schools are gutting music programs and such to save money, may not be so stable. </p>

<p>Likewise, saying violinist or violists have better job opportunities is problematic, then let’s say a woodwind player, it becomes a game of relativity. If you look at it glancingly, a case can be made, an orchestra for example has let’s say 30 violinists (for a 100 piece orchestra), whereas an orchestra has maybe 3 or 4 trumpets, a scant group of flutes, clarinetists, etc. Looks good, but then if you look at people majoring on violin performance there are tons more kids majoring in it, so the crowd of prospective violinists is large. </p>

<p>If you compare piano to other instruments you will find a lot of the same jobs, and some unique to the piano and some it doesn’t have.</p>

<p>Solo? For pianists, becoming a major soloist is the holy grail, same for violinists, cellists to a certain extent, clarinet and flute to a lesser extent…and as an option, is just about equally as next to impossible;).</p>

<p>Chamber…there is of course piano music written for piano chamber groups of all kind, though among established groups most tend to be string quartets and the like, plus there are groups formed by the moment as well.</p>

<p>Accompanying. Piano is unique in this, and in fact there are degrees in collaborative piano these days. This would include working with high level soloists, or helping artists rehearse, working with musicals and operas in rehearsal, at music schools and so forth. </p>

<p>Gig work (the lifeblood of musicians)…can include playing weddings and other social events, piano bar at a bar or restaurant, local musical theater production, etc. True for all instruments, and pianists often are needed. Could also be in a rock group, jazz group, or other music ensemble outside classical. Same applies to most instruments but Piano could be more in demand, simply because it is used in a wide range of things…</p>

<p>Teaching…very, very common, whether someone teaches at a music school or has their own private students, and common with other instruments. </p>

<p>Okay, but then with the slight edge comes the reality…that a lot of music students, at all levels, are studying piano, there are a ton of kids in music performance on piano and you will be out there competing with them for any kind of job. </p>

<p>I would be very careful of saying to yourself “oh, the kids from Juilliard, unlike myself, would never lower themselves to teaching or doing gig work”, if that is designed to make yourself feel better it simply isn’t true. Yes, there are kids who get into the high level programs, especially more then a few kids from China and Korea who are into the hierarchy stuff, who think the only ‘real’ thing to do is be a soloist or maybe land a gig with a high level orchestra, but that is a minority position. Put it this way, the kids who got into those programs have seen the stiff competition for along time, they have done the competitions and they also knew they had to work their tail off from a young age to be good enough to even get in (Juilliard takes roughly 7% of those who apply), and this is competing against kids from all over the world, from places like china where something like 20 or 30 million kids are studying piano, and so forth, and they know that competition is only beginning when they walk out of those schools. Wherever you graduate from, you will be competing with people who went to a variety of programs with varying backgrounds, and one thing they all know, it takes a thick skin and hustling and networking to make a living. </p>

<p>And while teaching sounds like a great thing to head into, look at listings for musical schools and private teachers offering Piano, you are going to find it is pretty competitive no matter where you go. </p>

<p>I am not saying don’t go into music or otherwise trying to discourage you, I am saying to you or anyone else going into music, it is a tough profession to get into no matter what instrument you can play, and that it takes hard work, perseverence, cleverness, artfullness, mendacity and just plain pigheaded obstinence to find a career in music:). If you are looking for an assured future or a steady job, music may not be such a great field to enter.</p>