Most instrumental musicians work closely with a variety of other people, including their colleagues, agents, employers, sponsors, and audiences. Although they usually work indoors, some perform outdoors for parades, concerts, and dances.
Musicians, singers, and related workers play musical instruments, sing, compose, arrange, or conduct. They may perform alone or as part of a group, before live audiences or in recording studios, television, radio, or movie productions. Although many entertainers play for live audiences, some prepare music exclusively for studios or computers. Regardless of the setting, musicians, singers, and related workers spend considerable time practicing, alone and with their band, orchestra, or other musical group.
Many colleges, universities, and music conservatories grant bachelor’s degrees or higher in music. A master’s or doctoral degree is usually required to teach advanced music courses in colleges and universities; a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient to teach basic courses. A degree in music education qualifies graduates for a state certificate to teach music in an elementary or secondary school.
Colleges and universities offer opportunities for students to become involved on campus while gaining experience in their fields and making connections that they might need after receiving their degrees. In addition to musical productions and concerts, international music fraternities such as Mu Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Iota offer both professional and social rewards to its members.
Internships are also an important part of the undergraduate experience. It is crucial to meet other people in the music industry and gain experience before graduation.
Musicians, singers, and related workers are employed in a variety of settings. Musicians often specialize in a particular kind of music or performance. Instrumental musicians, for example, play a musical instrument in an orchestra, band, rock group, or jazz group. Singers interpret music using their knowledge of voice production, melody, and harmony; they sing character parts or perform in their own individual style.
Composers create original music such as symphonies, operas, sonatas, or popular songs; they transcribe ideas into musical notation using harmony, rhythm, melody, and tonal structure. Arrangers transcribe and adapt musical composition to a particular style for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individuals. Conductors lead instrumental music groups, such as orchestras, dance bands, and various popular ensembles.