mdolevskilewismdolevskilewis Meri Dolevski-Lewis
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Careers for people who love music

Most people, especially if they never took music lessons or didn’t take them seriously, think that there are only a very few careers for people with music skills: performing (usually as part of a professional orchestra or famous solo performer) or teaching music at school and/or private lessons. However, there are several more careers that have far less recognition but are at least as important, if not more so, since they serve many more people. Besides school music teachers, college professors, private music teachers, and performers, here are some other careers connected to music:

Piano tuners and technicians, which are still needed since millions of people still have acoustic pianists, especially large schools, churches, and some professionals

Organ tuners and technicians, for churches and other institutions that have pipe organs. Since these people are quite rare, this may be a pretty good source of income.

Fundraising and subscription sales for musical organizations (I’ve done this myself, and was really good at the fundraising!)

Artistic directors, primarily for large ensembles, but occasionally well-known chamber groups

Musical instrument repairers, which are needed by musicians from beginner to professional. Another potentially financially lucrative one, since it’s rare. Many specialize in one or two instruments, and rarely more than a particular family of instruments (eg: woodwinds)

Doctors who specialize in musician’s injuries, treating and preventing them

Music psychologists, who help musicians deal with various psychological issues that can occur

Composers, for commissions, for film and TV, and for expanding repertoire for various instruments, especially creating enjoyable elementary level pieces that can be played by students with limited range in the first few weeks or months of lessons.

Arrangers, to create custom arrangements, to created levelled arrangements (parts suitable for a variety of players for a single piece), selling their own arrangements, and creating arrangements of pieces for students with a small range on various instruments

Music therapists, to help people improve their basic life skills using music, and music therapists can specialize in geriatrics, working with people with physical limitations, or working with people with mental limitations

Artist managers. That’s who handles the bookings for the extremely well-known popular artists…

Recording producers/engineers, which are needed from potential music majors sending in recordings to platinum-selling artists, to make a great recording.

Music store clerk or owner. After all, someone’s got to sell the stuff to musicians and parents of developing

Manufacturer of equipment needed for instruments, such as reeds, sticks, picks, strings, and ligatures for instruments that require them

Musical instrument designer. There is a major trend for improving the design of string instruments, and for wind instruments, to make instruments lighter and easier to play while still producing a pleasing sound under normal play for beginners and being within prices people can afford.

Music reviewers. Though I’m not sure how much influence they actually have on sales of tickets to events or purchase of recordings.

Music school owner. Though the trend nowadays is that people are going back to independently-run studios, and fewer and fewer teachers willing to work for them for various reasons.

Method book author. The piano method by Nancy and Randall Faber, Piano Adventures,  has expanded from a relatively small number of teachers using it, to being the most popular piano method in the world, which recently came out in a 2nd edition for the first 3 levels of their regular series (Primer, Level 1, and Level 2A) and has been translated into several languages.

Professional piano accompanists, especially in high demand between January and April, for music exams, auditions, and competitions, but sometimes for dance companies and music theatre. During the high season, some make several thousand for a month’s work. Musicians doing this must be extremely fine sight-readers, learn music extremely quickly (even the most difficult 20th century pieces), and adapt easily to performer’s mistakes (especially when working with students or amateur musicians).

Church music directors, which are usually required to play piano and organ at a professional level, sight-read well, and improvise on hymns. Some areas have a greater availability of jobs than there are people willing to take them, and for part-time work that rarely exceeds 10 hours a week, some church music directors make 60% or more of the full time salary of white-collar workers.

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