Musicians work in a variety of areas. They play musical instruments, sing,
write songs, lead choirs, bands and orchestras -- and teach others to develop
their musical talents. Whether they're playing in front of live audiences,
recording songs for television productions or writing music for others to
perform, musicians share one trait: a love of music.
"I played because I was obsessed with music," says professional musician
and composer Jan Randall. "Most people that end up as pros have that -- they
just can't do anything else."
Musicians specialize in one or more areas. Instrumental musicians play
a musical instrument in an orchestra, band or group. Singers sing in front
of a live audience or in a recording studio. Conductors and directors lead
instrumental or singing groups. Composers write original music. And music
instructors teach other people how to play an instrument or sing.
Musicians work in a variety of environments. Some perform live in concert
halls or nightclubs and spend a great deal of time traveling. Others record
their music in professional studios or work in the solitude of their own offices
For many musicians, every day is different. They spend considerable time
practicing and performing. Self-employed and part-time musicians may spend
significant time marketing and selling themselves, keeping track of finances,
coordinating gigs and writing songs.
Math, accounting, public relations, sales, writing and information gathering
are crucial skills.
Few musicians hold 9-to-5 jobs. Those who perform must often do so at night
and on weekends, and sometimes spend a lot of time traveling from one performance
venue to the next. Composers and teachers tend to work more regular hours,
but still devote extra time meeting project deadlines or preparing for upcoming
Professional musicians who perform live in concert halls and nightclubs
must be in good physical condition. They burn off energy while performing
and need stamina to cope with frequent travel and night performances.