Music Jobs & Music Industry Resources

Musician Job Statistics

Musician Earnings, Job Outlook, Musician Training, and Labor Statistics




 

Musician Job Stats

Musician Jobs Stats, What Musicians and Singers Do

Musicians and singers play instruments or sing for live audiences and in recording studios. They perform in a variety of styles, such as classical, jazz, opera, rap, or rock.

Work Environment

Musicians and singers often perform in settings such as concert halls, arenas, and clubs. They often work in religious organizations and performing arts companies; others are self-employed.

How to Become a Musician or Singer

Educational and training requirements for musicians and singers vary. There are no formal education requirements for musicians and singers interested in performing popular music, but those interested in performing classical and opera typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Pay

The median hourly wage of musicians and singers was $22.39 in May 2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of musicians and singers is expected to grow 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Expected growth will be due to increases in demand for musical performances. However, strong competition is expected for jobs because of the large number of workers who are interested in becoming musicians or singers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of musicians and singers with similar occupations.

O*NET

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Contacts for More Information

Learn more about musicians and singers by contacting these additional resources.
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SUGGESTED CITATION:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Musicians and Singers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm (visited September 01, 2012).

Musicians and singers play instruments or sing for live audiences and in recording studios. They perform in a variety of styles, such as classical, jazz, opera, rap, or rock.

Duties

Musicians and singers typically do the following:

  • Perform music for live audiences and recordings
  • Audition for positions in orchestras, choruses, bands, and other music groups
  • Practice playing instruments or singing to improve their technique
  • Rehearse to prepare for performances
  • Find locations for performances or concerts
  • Travel, sometimes great distances, to performance venues
  • Promote their careers by doing photo shoots and interviews or maintaining a website or social media presence

Musicians play one or more instruments. To make themselves more marketable, many musicians become proficient in multiple musical instruments or styles.

Musicians play in bands, orchestras, or small groups. Those in bands may play at weddings, private parties, clubs, or bars while they try to build enough fans to get a recording contract or representation by an agent. Some musicians work as a part of a large group of musicians who must work and practice together, such as an orchestra. A few musicians become section leaders, who may be responsible for assigning parts to other musicians or leading rehearsals.

Others musicians are session musicians, who specialize in playing backup for a singer or band leader during recording sessions and live performances.

Singers perform vocal music in a variety of styles. Some specialize in a particular vocal style, such as opera or jazz; others perform in a variety of musical genres. Singers, particularly those who specialize in opera or classical music, may perform in different languages, such as French or Italian. Opera singers act out a story by singing instead of saying the dialogue.

Some singers become background singers, providing vocals to harmonize or support the lead singer.
In some cases, musicians and singers write their own music to record and perform. For more information about careers in songwriting, see the profile on music directors and composers.

Musicians and singers who give private music lessons to children and adults are classified as self-enrichment teachers. For more information, see the profile onself-enrichment teachers.
Others with a background in music may teach music in public schools, but they typically need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. See the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachersmiddle school teachers, and high school teachers.

SUGGESTED CITATION:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Musicians and Singers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm (visited September 01, 2012).