Job description

Musicians write and/or play music using a variety of instruments such as a guitar or piano. They sometimes perform music for live audiences or recordings. Musicians usually specialise in a particular genre of music, whether it be rock, jazz, or classical. They are typically part of a band or an orchestra, or they play solo.


    • Write music for themselves, bands, groups or orchestras
    • Play and perform music using instruments in front of a live audience,/li>
    • Record music in a recording studio
    • Audition for roles in orchestras, bands or music groups
    • Practise and rehearse music to improve technique
    • Find and book venues for performances
    • Travel to performances
    • Promote your work through social media and other forms of advertising

Skills and qualities

Musical talent
Physical stamina

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Most musicians earn more income by becoming better known and performing at more venues. They can progress by finding themselves a manager or agent who then finds them jobs, negotiates contracts and enhances their overall careers.

With enough skill and experience, some musicians end up leading musical groups, performing for famous productions, singers or bands, or writing music such as symphonies. They may also advance to teaching music after obtaining the right qualifications.

Working conditions

Average hours

20h/ week

Typical schedule

Part Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

The working environment of a musician usually involves performing at concert halls, theatres, arenas, weddings, parties or clubs. Some professionals may spend a lot of their time in recording studios.

Those who are part of a band or work as background musicians for singers might have to dedicate time to travel when touring nationally or internationally.

Musicians must be accustomed to loud surroundings and performing in front of large audiences.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


No formal educational requirements

Study time


Musicians of popular music are not required to have any type of formal education. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in opera or classical music, however, will typically benefit from completing a bachelor’s degree programme. Aspiring musicians must submit their recordings or participate in an audition before being accepted into these programmes.

Some opera or classical musicians also go on to obtain a master’s degree in fine arts or music.

Musicians must prove an extensive amount of training, especially in their preferred instrument. Those interested in performing classical music can enhance their training through music camps and fellowships.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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