6. Senior Level Administration
Senior level administration at any college, regardless of whether it be a music school or not, will usually pay in the six figure range. According to this 2013 article, the Dean of the Juilliard School, Joseph Polisi, makes close to $700,000 per year. The former CEO of the New York Philharmonic, Zarin Mehta, made $800,000 in 2010, according to the same article.
Sure, most nonprofit employees don’t make six figures. But almost every music school and arts institution has an executive dean of some kind. One can expect a pay in the lower six figures for these types of positions.
A dean’s job is very broad, but it usually means being the boss of a specific department. Hiring faculty, recruiting new students for a freshman class, executing academic reform and policy, and overseeing fundraising are some of the typical jobs of a college dean.
A new major has become popular in some music conservatories known as Arts Administration. I foresee that this degree will, eventually, become the norm for many who aspire to have high level positions in the arts. But if you look at the landscape of senior level administrators working in music colleges today, you’ll find that most of them worked many years climbing the ranks of administration to get to where they are.
Many of them started as music students themselves.
Salary: It varies widely, but is most often between $40,000 – $500,000+
5. Music Director
The Music Director is the primary artistic leader of a given ensemble or musical project.
Music directors are needed in all sorts of musical projects. As you can see in the previous Wikipedia link, these instances can include…
- Major Symphony Orchestras (the Music Director is also its conductor)
- Concert & Military Bands (also usually its conductor)
- Head of a department in a music school.
- Coordinator of ensembles at a school.
- Head organist/choirmaster at a church.
- Those in charge of selecting the music and creative direction of music for television and film (more oftenly called a music supervisor, which we will get into later).
- Someone who directs Broadway shows. Sometimes they double as rehearsal pianists and conductors.
- In radio stations, a liaison between the station and record label representatives. This person is important as he helps determine the licensing fees for radio airplay.
Depending on what kind of music direction you want to pursue will determine what kind of degree you will aspire to achieve. If you want to direct a band or orchestra, you should pursue a Master’s in Conducting. To be a music director at a radio station or in some other kind of commercial setting, it would be wise to get a degree in Music Business or Music Industry.
Salary: Some of the above mentioned positions, such as those in Broadway & in major symphonic orchestras, do get paid six-figures regularly. A couple conductors of major orchestras command seven figures.
4. Music Supervisor
A Music Supervisor is not unlike a Music Director. In fact, Music Supervisors were once called Music Directors.
A Music Supervisor is someone who oversees all of the aspects of music in visual commercial media, such as video games, films, television, and advertisements.
This is distinctly different from a film & video game composer – while a film and video game composer actually composes music for the medium at hand, the director oversees all aspects of the music and sometimes sound coming from a film.
A supervisor must book talent for the sound recordings, act as an intermediary between a music publishing company and the commercial project he represents, collect and distribute royalties coming from usage of original and non-original music in the film, clear the rights to use music in a film, etc.
This is one of those careers that falls more under the business category rather than the producer, performer, conductor, or composer category. Still, for those interested in this kind of career, the pay can be excellent.
Salary: According to Forbes, this position can pay up to $500,000 per project. This could be a seven-figure job for the most experienced of talent.