How to Become a Musician

JOB OVERVIEW

rewarding career in music

Musicians work hard to make music that audiences will appreciate and enjoy

If you have a natural musical ability, and want to know how to become a professional musician, here is some information that will help you in this effort. Whether you want to play with a band on the road, perform for local community theatre production, or become a recording artist, it is a fun and potentially lucrative field.

Also, with today’s versatile online sales platforms such as iTunes, CD Baby, and other online sales portals, you can even promote, publish, and market yourself with the use of today’s technology and digital sales platforms.

$46,571
High School or GED
None
Long-term
176,200
10%
17,900
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

REQUIREMENTS/QUALIFICATIONS

To get started as a musician, you can just start a garage band. Or you can go the traditional route. Getting a 4-year degree from an accredited college or online school in the field of Music is a good start. Once you achieve the degree, others in the music industry will know you have taken the time to complete an intensive formal education in your field, and you may be offered more opportunities, especially in the academic world.

All that is REALLY required, however, is a great talent and ability to contribute some innovative musical ability to the world of composing and music. There are many areas of music, including composition, performance, recording, and others. Decide which you’d like to focus on primarily, and which arena you’d like to focus your work in, such as stage or recording media.

Someone wanting to go into this field and be a professional musician should love music, be very talented in several areas of music, or play several different instruments. If they have a 4-year degree in music, it should probably focus on instrumental music, as this enables one to have greater versatility in their ability to play many different instruments and do various types of composition.

This is especially true if you plan to write original songs or compose for others, as well. If VOCAL music is your preference, then you would want to focus on that instead in your degree program.

TYPICAL EDUCATION

The typical education for preparing oneself for a career in music would be four years of intensive training in different aspects of music including vocal, instrumental, composition, and theory. It would encompass many of the basic tenets of music education, as well as band directing, marketing your music, and today it would also include digital technology, since that is how music is marketed now online.

AN ALTERNATE ROAD

Instead of a 4-year degree program, one could take lessons from an accomplished pianist or guitar player, who could teach you both elementary and advanced techniques of specific instruments. Then you could take the basic knowledge you learned and compose your own songs, perform in your own band, or other venues.

STEPS TO BECOMING A MUSICIAN

To become a musician the traditional way, here are some steps you can take to get things “rocking.”

1) Get a 4-year degree or a 2-year certificate in Music, with either an instrumental or vocal emphasis. While this is not required, it gains you immediate credibility which is needed when you are first starting out.

2) Focus on making your work original or unique. Creating and writing your own music is one good strategy. The more you can present yourself as an artist with something unique to offer, the better your chances at making your mark in the music world.

3) Learn how to market. If you want to get your ideas out there in the world of music, learn how to market through multi-channels. Put your song you created in known markets such as iTunes, Amazon Music, or Google Music. The more people get exposure to your songs, the better your chances at becoming a hit with your fans.

4) Establish your own musician’s page. Use Facebook, as well as your own unique website to promote your band and your brand. Have song samples where people can try out your music before they buy, and a sign up form where they can sign up for your newsletter or updates. Ask fans to promote you on their social media accounts too! You can go viral this way in just a few weeks!

But remember, start with a good education from an accredited school if you are serious about a lifelong career in this fun and lucrative field.

Here is a link from the American Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the average wage per hour of beginning musicians, and other interesting facts, as they are making their mark in the world:

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm

And here is a link with more information on careers in Music.

http://www.bls.gov/k12/music06.htm

Decide how far you want to take your career as a musician, and let this guide you in terms of which steps you will take, and which arenas to focus your efforts on. You could be the backup drummer for a big band, the lead singer or your own internet music group, or just do it on your own and fly solo. You can sing in your local community productions, or launch a world tour. It’s really up to you, how much hype you are able to generate about your craft, and how persistent you are with your goals.

In our days of immense technology and various sales channels, you could actually have a music career all on your own by simply recording, packaging, and distributing your own music via one of the popular sales channels.

Best wishes to you, and may you find that there’s nothing sweeter than the sound of your own composition and music talent. Except for the sound of incoming emails telling you how much money your music made in the past week!

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