Musicians play one or more instruments. To make themselves more marketable, many musicians become proficient in multiple musical instruments or styles. Musicians and singers perform in settings such as concert halls, arenas, and clubs. Musicians and singers who give recitals or perform in nightclubs travel frequently and may tour nationally or internationally. Musicians in bands may play at weddings, private parties, clubs, or bars while they try to build enough fans to get a recording contract or representation by an agent.
Singers perform vocal music in a variety of styles. Some specialize in a particular vocal style, such as Blues, Hip Hop or Rap. Others musicians are session musicians, specializing in playing backup for a singer or band leader during recording sessions and live performances. Some musicians and singers who are between gigs may give private music lessons to children and adults. Others with a background in music may teach music in public and private schools, but they typically need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license.
Undergrad music programs offer classes in music history, style and improvisation, and teach methods for improving instrumental and vocal technique. Undergraduate voice programs include courses in musical expression in live performances, which helps students develop the ability to play music comfortably under the stress of a large audience. Educational and training requirements for music directors and composers vary, although most positions require related work experience, found by submitting recordings of their compositions to bands, singers, record companies, and movie studios.
Composers write original music that orchestras, bands, and other musical groups perform, or they may remake existing music into new compositions. They may also write lyrics for music or work with a professional lyricist. Some composers write soundtracks for movies or television, and the majority of songwriters focus on composing a specific genre of music. Some composers use instruments to help them as they write music. Others use software that allows them to hear a piece as they develop the melody.
Musicians sometimes write their own music and songs, and sometimes not. Most musicians are performers first and foremost, and need extensive training and practice to acquire the skills necessary for stage performances at a professional level. There's an old saying that you need to practice a song a thousand times before you begin to really hear what's inside. The best musicians typically begin singing or learning to play either guitar or drums by taking private music lessons as early as elementary school, but it's never too late in life to pursue music. In addition, you must practice often to develop latent talent, and keep adding fresh material throughout your musical career.
Music directors lead the band in a musical sense, ensuring that musicians play with one coherent sound, balancing the melody, timing, rhythm, and volume. They also give feedback to musicians and band leaders on sound and style. Music directors also may edit arrangements and songs, and direct rehearsals to prepare for live performances and recording studio time, which is generally expensive.
What education is required in the music industry?
Many musicians and singers have a bachelor's degree in music theory or performance. To be accepted into a competitive music program, applicants are typically required to submit recordings or to audition in person. Undergraduate music programs teach students about music history and styles. In addition, they teach methods for improving instrumental and vocal techniques and musical expression. Musicians and singers need extensive training and regular practice to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to interpret music at a professional level.
Musicians typically begin singing or learning to play an instrument at a young age. Musicians and singers interested in performing classical music may seek further training through music camps and fellowships. These programs provide participants with classes, lessons, and performance opportunities. Successful musicians and singers may rely on professional talent agents or managers to find them jobs, negotiate contracts, and develop their careers.
Music Video Production & Editing
Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, or music videos, whereas video and film editors take the footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time, and operators normally follow directions that arrange the order of the shots. If they are shooting a live event like a concert, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment's notice and follow the instructions of the show's director. The use of robotic cameras is common at big concerts, and one operator may be in control of several cameras at once.
Most film makers prefer using digital cameras because they are smaller, more inexpensive, and highly versatile for shooting at difficult angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of camera assistants. Instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera. In addition, drone cameras give operators an opportunity to film in the air, or in places that are hard to reach. Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.
Digital downloads and streaming platforms make it easier for fans to listen to recordings and view performances. Easier access to recordings gives musicians more publicity and grows interest in their work, and concertgoers may become interested in seeing them perform live. Moreover, some musicians and singers license their music for use in advertisements or for other commercial purposes, creating more exposure and revenue opportunities.
Rehearsals and recording sessions are commonly held during business hours, but live performances are most often at night and on weekends. Many musicians and singers find only part-time or intermittent work and may have long periods of unemployment between paying gigs. There may be some additional demand for musicians to serve as session musicians and backup artists for recordings and to go on tour. Singers may be needed to sing backup and to make recordings for commercials, films, and television.