A career in music doesn’t always mean moving to a city and hoping to strike it big. There are actually plenty of grounded, stable careers that involve musical skills. Many of the skills you learn from practicing music are applicable in other areas of your life.

Musicians work in a variety of fields including:

Being a composer

Being a music teacher

Writing songs for other musicians

Becoming a performer

Every movie has a composer, just as does nearly every commercial and every television show. This is one of the most lucrative areas of employment for musicians. Musicians also perform in high-end restaurants and neighborhood pubs.

If you want to work as a professional musician, you have to balance your drive to create art with your drive to make money. For instance, you’ll have deadlines as a working musician. Nobody is going to pay you to wait around while you work out your great symphony or your number one album, but they may pay you to deliver a commercial jingle in two weeks and they may pay you handsomely for it.

Pop musicians make a lot of money, but they usually don’t write their own music. There are plenty of songwriters who have made millions without ever singing one of their own songs. If you have a knack for writing but don’t want to be a performer, don’t think that it means you cannot be a musician. You may, in fact, end up being a very successful musician!

Musicians also find work as teachers. Teaching music is a real skill and, among musicians, those who are good enough and dedicated enough to instruct are generally quite respected. If you love form, theory, performance conventions and the other, more objective aspects of music, this may be a viable career for you. A music teacher can rest assured that they will make an impact on someone’s life.


Not all performers write their own music. This means, of course, that there is a demand for performers who can get on stage, put on a great show and belt out a tune, but who aren’t expected to have a hand in the writing process. If you love to perform but can’t think of an original melody no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a place in the music world.

In Other Parts of Life

In everyday life, your musical skills have value. The time you spend learning to perform helps you to present yourself publically much better than you did before you studied. The time you spent learning to work through difficult passages on an instrument or in a song helps you to develop discipline and perseverance.

As a form of study, listening to world music broadens your horizons and, because of the wealth of cultural knowledge you accumulate, makes you a more interesting person to talk to. Music is not impractical as a course of study.

Music if You’re Not a Musician

Music can still play an important role in your life, even if you’re not a musician. If you develop a love of playing an instrument and enjoy taking on new challenges with it, you may find yourself a part of a community band, a local orchestra or even a garage band. There’s no age limit to participating in music and, as long as you can play your instrument or sing, you can continue on doing it. Some careers in music don’t pay anything, but are intensely gratifying. Being a member of a community band, for instance, allows you to get out, enjoy yourself and perform without the pressures of being a professional musician.

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