What Can You Do With a Music Degree? 70+ Careers & Salaries Revealed

The opportunities for a musician to succeed are so much larger than meets the eye.

It is true that orchestral/ensemble/solo performance as well as teaching are the two most popular careers in music.

While these career paths can be exceptionally rewarding to those who are passionate about the vocations of teaching and performing, the reality is that there are many, many more options that are available to those who have a music degree.

In fact, whether you can believe it or not, there are over 70+ exceptional and yes, lucrative careers you can pursue with a music degree.

That’s right – over 70(!) careers are available to those with a music degree. I bet you never knew that.

It’s true that some of these careers might require functional knowledge outside of the core requirements of your music degree and possibly even require a specialized degree. For example, if you want to get a job as a grant writer for a music organization, working as an intern at a non-profit arts organization could provide you with the necessary skills for learning how to write grants. Also, taking a grant-writing class at your university could assist tremendously.

So let’s get into it. Here are 70+ careers, listed alphabetically, that are available for musicians who have successfully graduated with a music degree.

The Careers & Salaries, Listed Alphabetically

A&R Administrator

Provides high-level personal and administrative support to an A&R (Artists & Repertoire) Representative.

  • Job Scenarios: Working with an A&R representative for a record label or artist management company.

A&R Representative

Scouts talent for record labels to sign to recording contracts.

  • Job Scenarios: Working for a record label or artist management company.
  • Salary: $25,000 – $85,000


accompanist photo
Photo by Lotzman Katzman

Performing in collaboration with an ensemble. Not entirely different from being a collaborative pianist.

  • Job Scenarios: Accompanying students in different music schools, ensemble auditionees, church choirs and congregations, dance classes, concerto rehearsals, and with other musicians in a collaborative setting.
  • Salary: Typically by the hour, usually between $30-75/hr.


Individual who books gigs for an artist or band/ensemble using relationships with clients such as club owners.

  • Job Scenario: Working directly with an artist or an artist management company.
  • Salary: Usually a commission of what the artist makes at the show, around 15%. A full-time agent can make great money in this profession, with the top agents in the world making millions. 

Alexander Technique Instructor (Music)

Instructor who works with musicians showing them how to normalize levels of physical and mental tension in their performing.

  • Job Scenarios: Usually as an independent instructor.
  • Salary: Not very much data is available for this career, but a successful and active clinician in this field can make $40,000 – $70,000+.

App Development

app photo
Photo by ashkyd

Music apps are exceptionally popular and always need consulting, testing, and / or development from actual musicians.

  • Job Scenario: As an app developer or working on an app with another company, either a start-up or established business.
  • Salary: Employed app developers typically make between $80,000 – $100,000 (Mashable) 


Musical reconceptualization. In other words, it can range from orchestrating a composer’s piano score to developing and reharmonizing a composer’s melody or song.

  • Job Scenarios: Many professional film composers have arrangers on their staff in order to complete a film score quickly. In jazz, we see people like Gordon Goodwin and Christian McBride making clever arrangements for big bands.

Artist Manager

Negotiates business deals on behalf of the artist. Also has input on the creative and marketing ends of an artist.

  • Job Scenarios: Either independently or with an artist management company such as Columbia Artists Management.
  • Salary: Up to 50% of what the artist makes.  

Arts Administration

Performs tasks for an arts organization. Can be as simple as basic clerical duties or as advanced as grant-writing and events planning.

  • Job Scenarios: Working in an arts organization. Some established arts organizations with large arts administration staffs include major orchestras and creative venues like the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
  • Salary: Between $30,000 and $50,000, with opportunities for advancement into higher positions in the organization.

Audio Engineer

audio engineer photo
Photo by Ted Van Pelt

Audio production specialist concerned with how sound is manipulated, recorded, and mixed in an audio recording. For someone specializing in acoustic sound, please see sound / acoustic engineer below.

  • Job Scenarios:  As a freelance recording engineer, in a college/university recording studio, in a commercial recording studio, etc.


A journalist, writer, or commentator who writes about a specific subject and sells products, memberships, and advertising space on their websites.

  • Job Scenarios: Honestly, you should start your own blog if you want to get paid well – writing articles for other people exclusively does not usually lend itself to a lucrative blogging career, unless you get a job at a place like Rolling Stone Magazine. Get a domain and hosting space from either BlueHost or GoDaddy, download a premium theme from Themeforest, and you are good to go.
  • Salary: $0 – $100,000+ (It sounds crazy, but I know bloggers, albeit usually in other spaces, that make around a half million a year).

Broadcast Engineer

Oversees the “airchain,” or the complete path of an a/v signal from origin to destination, for a television or radio station. Requires a background in audio engineering and possibly knowledge in electrical engineering.

  • Job Scenario: Employed by a television company or radio station, or as an independent contractor.

Business Management

Starts and/or oversees the day-to-day operations of a music business, including a performing arts venue, nightclub, music store.

  • Job Scenarios: Overseeing various music businesses, such as record labels, clubs, performing arts centers, etc.
  • Salary: $45,000 – $150,000+ (higher if you are an executive director)

Chamber Musician

string quartet photo
Photo by Chris and Gill’s New Adventure

Performer in a classical chamber ensemble, either performing in an already established ensemble or starting up your own ensemble.

  • Job Scenario: Traditionally, chamber musicians would play recitals with acoustic instrument groups in concert halls. Today, the scene is rapidly changing, with many groups performing amplified in “downtown venues.” Some traditional chamber ensembles include the Guarneri String Quartet, the Canadian Brass Ensemble, etc. Less traditional and more innovative groups include the Kronos Quartet and the young entrepreneurial ensemble Groupmuse.
  • Salary: Varies tremendously based on a number of factors. Many chamber music groups make money in academic residencies, performing various gigs and weddings, merchandising their brand, selling cds, etc


  1. Penny Kruse November 13, 2014
    • Bill Zuckerman November 13, 2014
  2. Roderick November 13, 2014
    • Anya November 17, 2014
      • Rebecca Wright Noot November 18, 2014
        • David Eddleman May 16, 2015
  3. DJean Vasciannie November 14, 2014
  4. DH November 14, 2014
    • Bill Zuckerman November 14, 2014
  5. Tera November 15, 2014
    • Prashant kaul August 9, 2016
    • Quintavius Williams October 24, 2016
  6. Eddi November 15, 2014
  7. Jeanette DeBellefeuille November 15, 2014
  8. Bill McFadden November 15, 2014
  9. Amy November 16, 2014
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  11. Cyrus November 16, 2014
  12. Gary Toth November 17, 2014
    • Bill Zuckerman November 17, 2014
  13. jccomplib November 17, 2014
  14. KMD November 17, 2014
  15. KMD November 17, 2014
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  17. Ploof November 20, 2014
    • Nicolas January 5, 2015
      • Hillary November 11, 2015
  18. Niccolo Casewit January 3, 2015
  19. Nicolas January 5, 2015
    • googoo January 30, 2020
  20. Courtney January 11, 2015
  21. Austin March 30, 2015
  22. Vicky June 25, 2015
  23. Iman July 13, 2015
  24. Vlad shvets August 25, 2015
  25. FrostGuy September 14, 2015
  26. Ronald Nagle November 10, 2015
    • ChucK Erdahl January 4, 2017
  27. Revon November 15, 2015
    • Krishma June 6, 2016
  28. Andrew December 7, 2015
  29. pramodh kumar February 21, 2016
  30. Krishma June 6, 2016
  31. Mrs Lawson November 22, 2016
    • ChucK Erdahl January 2, 2017
  32. ChucK Erdahl January 2, 2017
  33. ritika jain February 8, 2017
  34. Calvin L February 11, 2017
  35. Mary February 17, 2017
  36. Jaures LALEYE May 18, 2017
  37. Lysa July 24, 2018
  38. Tc August 10, 2018

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