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Career profile Musician

Also known as Choir Member, Gospel Singer, Musician, Opera Singer, Orchestra Musician, Percussionist, Singer, Singing Telegram Performer, Tenor, Vocalist

Musician

Also known as Choir Member, Gospel Singer, Musician

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$11 - $87 (hourly)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Language
  • Communications and Media
Core tasks
  • Practice performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Perform in television, radio, or movie productions.
  • Perform before live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.
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What does a Musician do?

Musicians play one or more musical instruments or sing.

In addition, Musicians may perform on stage, for broadcasting, or for sound or video recording.

What kind of tasks does a Musician perform regularly?

Musicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Perform before live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.
  • Sing a cappella or with musical accompaniment.
  • Interpret or modify music, applying knowledge of harmony, melody, rhythm, and voice production to individualize presentations and maintain audience interest.
  • Specialize in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.
  • Sing as a soloist or as a member of a vocal group.
  • Observe choral leaders or prompters for cues or directions in vocal presentation.
  • Memorize musical selections and routines, or sing following printed text, musical notation, or customer instructions.
  • Play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.
  • Sight-read musical parts during rehearsals.
  • Play from memory or by following scores.
  • Practice singing exercises and study with vocal coaches to develop voice and skills and to rehearse for upcoming roles.
  • Listen to recordings to master pieces or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Teach music for specific instruments.
  • Provide the musical background for live shows, such as ballets, operas, musical theatre, and cabarets.
  • Audition for orchestras, bands, or other musical groups.
  • Seek out and learn new music suitable for live performance or recording.
  • Make or participate in recordings in music studios.
  • Promote their own or their group's music by participating in media interviews and other activities.
  • Make or participate in recordings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Musicians. More generally, Musicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is a Musician salary?

The median hourly wage for a Musician is $31, and the average hourly wage is $41. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Musician hourly wage range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low wages.

Many Musicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Musicians earn less than $11 per hour, 25% earn less than $17, 75% earn less than $54, and 90% earn less than $87.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Musicians is expected to change by 11.1%, and there should be roughly 20,800 open positions for Musicians every year.

Median hourly wage
$31
Typical hourly wage
$11 - $87
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
11.1%

What personality traits are common among Musicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Musician are usually higher in their Artistic and Enterprising interests.

Musicians typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Musicians typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Musician tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Musicians strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Musicians strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Musicians moderately value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Musicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Musicians, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Musicians need?

Musicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Musicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Musicians

  • 4.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 13.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 22.2% completed some college coursework
  • 5.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 30.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 19.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 4.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Musicians

Musicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as fine arts, foreign language, or communications and media knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Musicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Foreign Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Musicians

Musicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Musicians need abilities such as hearing sensitivity, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Musicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Hearing Sensitivity
The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Auditory Attention
The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Musicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Musicians frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Musicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.