21st century musicians typically combine multiple jobs with multiple income streams to support themselves and their families, and to experience fulfilling careers. Performance and non-performance work do not have to be mutually exclusive; many of the fields below allow musicians to do both.


Note that some of these careers require graduate education (such as college-level teaching and conducting) or additional training beyond what you’ll find in an undergraduate program. Internships are especially important for working in any of the music industry/music business/technology/recording fields. Entrepreneurial skills, the ability to use the latest relevant technology, and some basic business skills like marketing, are also useful in every area of music.


Pay attention to ever-changing opportunities created by technology. New avenues for consuming music, innovative products, new teaching methods, and expanding uses of music as a therapeutic tool all translate to new career options in a rapidly changing world of music.


  • Accompanist (public and private schools, music schools and performing arts camps; religious centers and schools; dance rehearsals and performances; other venues)
  • Acoustics
  • Adjudicator
  • Arranger
  • Artist management
  • Arts administrator/arts management (includes box office, concert series, programming house manager)
  • Audio production, editing
  • Band director (K-12, college, military, sports)
  • Clinician
  • Choral director
  • Collaborative pianist
  • Community music school director
  • Composer
  • Conductor (orchestras: K-12, college, community, youth, domestic/international)
  • Copyist, transcriber
  • Copyright consultant
  • Cruise ship entertainer
  • Digital aggregator
  • Digital score recordist
  • Educator (K-12, college, university, conservatory, religious organizations, private studio)
  • Electronic production and design (including audio engineering, mastering, mixing, music directing, producing, program directing, programming, recording engineer, studio manager, MIDI technician)
  • Entrepreneur
  • Entertainment lawyer; music business lawyer
  • Event production, management, planning, technology
  • Film scoring (Composing, editing, supervising, arranging/adapting, mixing, conducting, orchestrating, synthesis specialist, theme specialist)
  • Fundraiser, grant writer
  • Historian
  • Instrument builder, designer
  • Instrument company or music store (owner, manager, sales)
  • Lecturer (schools, media, cruise ships, community)
  • Librarian
  • Lyricist
  • Marketing
  • Master classes
  • Media development
  • Merchandise management
  • Merchant
  • Military bands
  • Music agent
  • Music business
  • Music critic or reviewer
  • Music curator
  • Music editing engineer
  • Music for game development
  • Music industry
  • Music licensing and clearance
  • Music online and print magazine writing, editing, publishing
  • Music preparation
  • Music production
  • Music publishing
  • Music school administrator
  • Music supervisor
  • Music therapist
  • Music web producer
  • Music instrument repair and tuning
  • Musical theatre
  • Musicologist
  • Orchestrator
  • Performer (Vocal and instrumental soloist, session musician, orchestra/band/group member, background vocalist or instrumentalist, performing artist, show band. Venues may include business meetings, conferences, cruise ships, weddings, hotels, restaurants, clubs, religious events, orchestral contractor.)
  • Personnel Manager (orchestras, arts organizations, shows, events)
  • Piano tuner, mover
  • Pit orchestra musician
  • Playback singer
  • Production
  • Promoter
  • Public relations agent or coordinator
  • Radio – programming, research, management
  • Recording (producer, engineer)
  • Recruiter for talent agencies, universities, etc.
  • Religious music – sacred music
  • Royalty analyst, royalty accountant
  • Score coordinator
  • Session musician
  • Song contractor
  • Song producer
  • Song recordist
  • Songwriter (including composer, lyricist, producer; jingle writing for television, radio and internet; freelance work; librettist)
  • Sound mastering
  • Sound technician (sound engineer)
  • Sound design
  • Summer camp music director/staff
  • Talent representation (booking, management)
  • Talent scout
  • Technical music assistant
  • Tours/road work (road manager, sound technician, tour coordinator, tour publicist)
  • Vocal coaching
  • Vocal contractor
  • Wellness (injury prevention and intervention)