Melodic, Multitalented and Magnificent Jobs

M is for… Musician!

Musicians are the people that entertain you in song. But how exactly does one become a musician?

Špilliga (photo credit: Tom Mrazek)

There are many different ways to become a successful musician these days. While most people envision the rock stars that travel the world, there are also many other kinds of musicians that aren’t necessarily touring musicians. Indeed, even the musicians that tour aren’t necessarily rock stars. They may be local performers, backup musicians, or indie performers going on self-scheduled tours.

In addition to traveling musicians, there are also studio musicians who only perform on recordings, as well as symphony musicians who perform with symphonic bands or orchestras.

Musicians may perform as buskers in parks or subways, in festivals (local or national), or in bars, nightclubs or cafés.

Violin in the park (photo credit: Tom Driggers)

Musicians are everywhere!

Musicians may also be music teachers. You might find them in schools, or teaching private lessons in their homes.

Musicians may also be composers, who create their own music to perform. Some may perform other people’s music, as in cover bands.

There are many ways that musicians can make a living these days. Indie artists may become successful simply by selling CDs straight to their fans.

An Interview with a Musician

Here’s an interview with musician and music teacher Amanda Fillio, to give you some idea about the day-to-day life of the non-rock star musician.

Why did you become a musician?

Playing is fun and challenging. I like that whenever I’m working, I’m bettering myself and meeting new people or creating cool things with my students or friends.

How long have you been a professional musician, and how did you get started?

I’ve been a professional for about 16 years. My teachers in high school began recommending me for various gigs or events, and that’s how I became a professional.

Could you describe a typical work day?

Monday through Friday I teach in a public school. I teach small group lessons for flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and percussion. I also do concert band rehearsals for various grades. After school I have a weekly rehearsal that lasts about two hours once a week, and we perform all over western Massachusetts throughout the year. This time of year is particularly busy, as I also play for several musical productions. That means rehearsing about four hours a night, and then anywhere from two to five performances over a weekend.

In the summer I play at various churches and in musical productions, which means my days don’t have to start until noon (if there’s a matinee) or 5 PM for evening performances. I love teaching, but could definitely get by on just that type of performing if I had to.

What do you like most about your job?

Every day is a little different. I’m never bored!

What do you like least about your job?

Sometimes I miss out on things with my family or friends because I have a performance. They understand, but I wish I had time for everything without conflicts.

What personal qualities are most valuable for this kind of work?

Time management. You have to break up your day for practice and motivate yourself.

Any advice for students looking to become musicians?

There are so many options! Try to learn all aspects of it so you can be versatile. Know how the sound equipment works, figure out how to put together simple recordings, speak up if it doesn’t feel right. Above all, manners matter. Nobody wants to work with a jerk.

Further Reading

Related Films

Other Mellifluous Jobs That Start With M

  • Magician
  • Magistrate
  • Mail Carrier
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Manicurist
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Media Specialist
  • Merchandiser
  • Microbiologist
  • Mime
  • Model
  • Motorcycle Racer
  • Museum Attendant
  • Mycologist

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

Long-lasting, Luscious, Loquacious Jobs

L is for… Librarian!

Librarians are the people who are in charge of the library, and they are awesome. They check your books in and out (unless you have a fancy self-serve system, like many libraries nowadays do), order new books and other materials for their patrons to check out (including CDs and DVDs, and sometimes even laptops, e-readers and power tools, too!), help folks find material in the library and use library equipment like computers and printers (even 3D printers!), schedule events, and otherwise keep the library humming along.

Some people wonder whether librarians and libraries are still relevant in a world where everyone can look up information, instantly, on their cell phones. But the answer is: OF COURSE! You see, librarians are not just people who fetch books, they’re also individual sources of information. Librarians are trained in Library Science, which means they are well-versed in a surprising number of skills involved in searching and sorting data – which becomes ever more important as much of our data goes digital. They’re also tech savvy, which means they can help you with many common computer questions (although they may still have to point you in the direction of some paid experts if your problem is a broken hard drive or cell phone).

Librarians help patrons find the materials they’re looking for, whether it’s in their own library or not. They can teach you the value of Inter-Library Loans (ILL), as well as how to reserve material on your own.

Librarians are also the people that help organize lots of useful, educational and interesting community events. Some of these events may include musical performances, readings, presentations, and workshops. These events are usually free or very low-cost, which means that people of all income levels are welcome to attend. That’s another important part of the job: Libraries Are For Everyone.

Libraries Are For Everyone (image credit: Hafuboti by Rebecca McCorkindale)

Are librarians still relevant? Absolutely! Without librarians and libraries I don’t know where I would be today. After all, libraries are a sanctuary for the nerdy and bookish. Where else do you think we all hang out?

Further Reading

Related Films

Other Lovely Jobs That Start With L

  • Laboratory Assistant
  • Landscaper
  • Lawyer
  • Librettist
  • Lifeguard
  • Limbo Dancer
  • Livestock Rancher
  • Lobbyist
  • Locksmith
  • Lyricist

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

Keen, Knowledgeable, Kick-Butt Jobs

K is for… Kinesiologist!

When I first sat down to write this post, I had no clue what a kinesiologist was, let alone what they might be doing all day. So, I asked Dr. Google, and this is what he told me (via Wikipedia):

“Kinesiology is the scientific study of human or non-human body movement. Kinesiology addresses physiological, biomechanical, and psychological mechanisms of movement. Applications of kinesiology to human health (i.e. human kinesiology) include biomechanics and orthopedics; strength and conditioning; sport psychology; methods of rehabilitation, such as physical and occupational therapy; and sport and exercise. Studies of human and animal motion include measures from motion tracking systems, electrophysiology of muscle and brain activity, various methods for monitoring physiological function, and other behavioral and cognitive research techniques.

Kinesiology as described above should not be confused with applied kinesiology, a controversial medical diagnostic method.”

If that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, trust me, you’re not alone! As far as I can understand it, kinesiologists are generally doctors helping people to either rehabilitate after an injury, or to do some strength and conditioning exercises to avoid injury in the first place. They’re physical therapists, occupational therapists and the like.

“Rose Strength Training Seminar 15” (photo credit: Rose Physical Therapy Group)

Now, as far as that last sentence, warning about controversy, I was intrigued. So I went on digging, and discovered this summary of “applied kinesiology,” from NaturalHealers.com:

“[K]inesiology in the context of complementary medicine—a field known as applied kinesiology—is a holistic treatment approach that uses muscle testing in order to zero in on health problems throughout the body. The kinesiologist then determines appropriate physical therapies, herbal medicine, dietary changes or other treatment methods to address the patient’s health issues and prevent future problems. Kinesiology school attracts a wide range of practitioners interested in holistic health, particularly chiropractors, naturopathic and conventional medical doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists and nurses.”

Aha! Now I can see why this area might be considered controversial. Chiropractors, massage therapists, and naturopaths – oh my!

To be as fair and balanced as possible, and without wading too far into a discussion of a profession I’ve only just Googled (nor going off on a tangent about the sorry state of U.S. healthcare…), I’ll just say this: if you want to become a kinesiologist, you should definitely invest in official medical training first. While I know holistic medicine is useful in many cases, that description also tends to be an umbrella term under which quacks and frauds (not to mention unlicensed or de-licensed doctors) tend to congregate. Just be aware that this profession is one where folks may try to derail you, or prey on your ignorance and desire to help others by offering you fake licenses or certifications. Make sure that any school where you choose to study is properly accredited by the medical profession.

You can also compare the tone of these two websites’ descriptions of this profession, to get an idea of what I mean…

Further Reading

Other Kreative Jobs That Start With K

  • Kelp Cutter
  • Kennel Manager
  • Kiln Operator
  • Knitter
  • Koi Fish Salesperson
  • Kosher Inspector

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.