Orchestrator

Arranges a reduced score into a much larger score for an orchestra or larger ensemble.

  • Job Scenarios: Working for Broadway composers (then known as a Broadway Show Arranger), on the staff of film composers, or independently.
  • Salary: This is a job where the orchestrator is typically paid for the amount of work done. Professional, high-level orchestrators frequently charge $25 – $75 per 4 measures of orchestrated music. So, orchestrating an 80 measure composition could garner as much as a $1,500 payment. If orchestrating an entire Broadway score, that could equate to about 600 pages. With four fully orchestrated bars per page at an absolute minimum, orchestrating one show could pay, at $55 per 4 measures, over $30,000.

Piano Tuner

Creating adjustments to the strings of the piano so that it’s musical intervals are aligned properly, making it sound “in tune.

  • Job Scenarios: Independently or employed in a place where there is a need for piano tuners on site, like a music school.
  • Salary: $150 per tuning, or around $50,000+ annually if employed full-time

Pit Musician

A musician who plays in the pit of a musical, opera, or other live event that requires live musicians.

  • Job Scenarios: Musicals, operas, and live events.
  • Salary: As a Broadway pit musician, you can make up to $1,600 per week the show is running. Requires membership in the Musician’s Union (Berklee Salary Guide).

Private Music Teacher

Music teacher who teaches students independently or in a school specifically designed for teaching music lessons.

  • Job Scenarios: Independently or in a school.
  • Salary: Between $30 – $120/hr

Publicist (music)

A person who creates buzz via publicity for a musician, band, music institution, business, etc.

  • Job Scenarios: Independently or with a publicity firm.

Publisher Sales Representative (Informally “Song Plugger”)

An agent from a publishing company trying to sell published compositions to labels and artists for recording and selling.

  • Job Scenario: Working for a publishing company.
  • Salary: $25,000 – $65,000

Radio DJ

Acts as the public voice of the radio station, promotes a specific image of the radio station to the audience.

  • Job Scenarios: Radio Stations.
  • Salary: Varies widely, with student radio stations run by volunteer interns and top radio station DJs commanding high six-digit salaries. Typical would be around $40,000 – $60,0000.

Record Producer

Oversees all aspects of producing an artist’s album.

  • Job Scenarios: Working independently with an artist or with a record label.
  • Salary: Ranges widely depending on the producer and the projects he takes on, between 5 and 7 figures.

Session Musician

Musician who plays on recording projects for different artists, labels, etc.

  • Job Scenarios: Working freelance on commercial recording projects (insider tip: get to know recording studio operators, they are always looking to add performers to their client book).
  • Salary: Varies widely per musician, but can get into the six digits for the highest paid professionals.

Social Media Strategist

A social media savvy marketer who works with a company to promote their content via social media.

  • Job Scenario: As a consultant or employed by a music company
  • Salary: $40,000 – $60,000. Other positions in social media marketing exist that can bring in an income of six digits.

Solo Musician

Musician who performs as a complete soloist (like a pianist) or as the central figure with an accompanying musician or ensemble.

  • Job Scenarios: Clubs, weddings, solo recitals, libraries, coffee shops, academic residencies, performing with an orchestra, charities, radio stations, museums, etc.
  • Salary: $0 – $1,000,000+ 

Sound / Acoustic Engineer

The application of sound and it’s composite elements, including frequencies and timbres, and applying it to specific technology. This can range anywhere from creating synthesizers to designing acoustically excellent concert halls.

  • Job Scenarios: Working for a company dealing with bioacoustics, audio signal processing, musical acoustics, noise control headphones, ultrasonic sound, etc.
  • Salary: Depends on which field of acoustic engineering you enter, but generally speaking this is a lucrative profession ranging from $70,000 – $150,000+.

Sound Recordist

Someone who records sound and music using professional level equipment either in a studio or in a live performance setting.

  • Job Scenario: Usually as an independent contractor
  • Salary: $35 – $100+ per hour

Stage Management

Organizing and putting together a music, theatre, dance, or multimedia production. Involves coordinating stage personnel, production managers, and more.

  • Job Scenarios: Working for a theatre, dance company, or other arts organization.
  • Salary: Median is approximately $40,000 (Pay Scale)

Tour Director

Person responsible for coordinating all aspects of an artist’s tour, including managing the road personnel, working in conjunction with an artist’s publicist, etc.

  • Job Scenario: Working personally with a band or with an artist management company.
  • Salary: Depends on the fame and draw of the artist, but according to the website Careers In Music, the salary average is around $100,000.

Video Game Composer

Composer for the soundtrack and background of video games.

  • Job Scenario: As an independent commercial music composer writing background music for video games.
  • Salary: For a video game created by a major entertainment company, most video game composers make about $1,000 – $2,000 per minute of video game music written. Most of these deals are for thirty minutes of score. Smaller-budget games are usually $300 – $600 per minute, and will probably require less than 30 minutes total.

Website Copywriter

Writes intelligent and informed biographies of different artists on a website for a performing arts company, record label, or other music business.

  • Job Scenario: Writing online copy for a music company
  • Salary: Median salary for copy editors in general is approximately $58,000 (Salary.com).

Website Designer

Every musician should have a website – musicians are picking up on this trend more and more. This is a space with a great deal of opportunity.

  • Job Scenario: Designing websites for musicians, usually as an independent contractor. Some website designers are employed in high-end design firms.
  • Salary: $20,000 – $200,000 + 

Final Thoughts

Well there you have it, over 70+ careers that can be attained with a music degree. It is true that some of these professions require an internship, classes outside of your music major, or in a few cases, a specialized degree beyond your Bachelor’s.


Featured Image by Boris SV Via Flickr Creative Commons