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What Does it Take to Be a Musician?

Position Description Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

Life As a Musician: What Do They Do?

  • Teach music for specific instruments.
  • Play from memory or by following scores.
  • Arrange and edit music to fit style and purpose.
  • Audition for orchestras, bands, or other musical groups.
  • Listen to recordings to master pieces or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Compose original music, such as popular songs, symphonies, or sonatas.

What Every Musician Should Know

When polled, Musicians say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Other Musician Job Titles

  • Church Musician
  • Musician
  • Recording Artist
  • Clarinetist
  • Cellist

Musician Job Outlook

There were about 172,400 jobs for Musician in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 10,400 new jobs for Musician by 2026. There will be an estimated 17,800 positions for Musician per year.


The states with the most job growth for Musician are Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Nebraska, Idaho, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What Tools & Technology do Musicians Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Musicians:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Appointment scheduling software
  • Avid Technology Pro Tools
  • Blogging software
  • Instagram
  • MakeMusic Finale
  • Avid Technology Sibelius
  • Apple GarageBand

How to Become a Musician

Are there Musicians education requirements?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Musician?


Where Musicians Work


The table below shows the approximate number of Musicians employed by various industries.



Image Credit: via Creative Commons CC0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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