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

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