Careers in Music - Part 5

Part 5 on the series of the types of careers in the music business and music industry. Here are a few more for all everyone to consider.

Many music students in conservatories and universities are not made sufficiently aware of the practical aspects involved in making a living as a classical instrumentalist. The emphasis is frequently on competing on a soloist level with a view toward a glamorous career. In addition, however, theory, languages, academic subjects, and secondary piano should be required and taught on a high level.

The basic motivation to become a musician should initially be, and forever remain, a compelling love for music. However, for that love to last, renew itself, and weather the inevitable ups and downs, it must, as in human relationships, be accompanied by an awareness of the realities involved.

There is often a lack of practice time for the orchestral musician. Frequently it is economically necessary to teach in order to supplement one's income. Working hours are irregular and in no case conform to the traditional nine-to-five schedule. Free time often will occur when most other people are at work. In an orchestra, an army-like atmosphere does prevail, especially on tours. The small orchestras are burdened with an ever-increasing amount of bus travel, and larger orchestras do a good deal of jet travel. Both forms of travel are physically tiring and can affect the orchestra's performance standards.

Finally, for those interested in an orchestral career, there should be some basic understanding about the conflict of interests among the parties involved in the running of an orchestra. Management, trustees, volunteers, contributors, occasionally government agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts and state arts councils, and above all audiences, are participants in creating a successful institution. In spite of the overall agreement on a common goal, a certain amount of conflict is inevitable and understandable. It is a helpful preparation for the music student to combine mastery of his or her instrument with the understanding of other facets of the profession.

Your background and education are important for a career as a performer of pop, rock, or jazz, but usually not as significant as talent, persistence, showmanship, and a little luck. Emotional maturity is another prerequisite and, of course, music training is definitely helpful. In pop, rock, and jazz the ear is and should be of prime importance; as a singer or instrumentalist, you should be able to execute what you hear. The musician who succeeds is the one who has mastered the technique of satisfying the particular audience he or she is aiming for, while not compromising his or her personal, unique vision and sound. Consequently, it is important that you expand your musical orbit by carefully listening to a wide variety of music, as these influences can provide ideas and inspiration for you.

Publicity, or to be more encompassing, communication, is a complex area of study and one to which a musician could devote much time. You must first create a resume and fact sheet, which can later be the biographical section of your press sheet.
The musician must know the law as it pertains to the entertainment industry. You must understand how to negotiate contracts and record date royalties. If you don't possess a steel-cold aptitude for such endeavors, you must obtain the services of a friend with talents (a sound memory is essential) or be prepared to hire a professional.

To find out about the pop, jazz, or rock music life, talk to those who are a part of it. Follow the band personnel, check out studio opportunities, and keep on top of the folk and world music circuits. Frequent clubs, coffeehouses and other venues where music of a particular interest to you is performed. If your interest lies in music of a spiritual or religious nature, visit various houses of worship in your area to experience different musical styles.

Musical talents, showmanship, communication skills and media savvy will get you far in the popular music field, but equally important to your success will be the ability to be flexible, and maintain a sense of humor, as well as being a reliable person with reliable colleagues and partners. Above all, have patience, and faith.

A smoothly operating music library requires the coordination of numerous activities: circulation and retrieval of materials; answering reference questions and helping people locate information or materials; determining needs of library users and acquiring new materials; accepting and sorting gifts; budgeting; personnel management; cataloging and classifying books, scores, and recordings; maintaining the card catalogs; binding scores and parts; maintaining a collection of recordings; and servicing listening equipment. Depending on the size and type of library, these activities may be performed by one person or by a team.

A successful music librarian has a strong background in classical, ethnic, popular, and jazz music. In order to answer the limitless questions of users, the librarian needs to be familiar with research tools such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, catalogs, and periodicals, as well as with the types of information they contain. Reading knowledge of foreign languages, especially German, is very useful. Facility in, and knowledge of specialized electronic databases is also required.

Professional positions require a master's degree in library science (MLS). Many also require or prefer a second master's degree in music (MM). When considering a school that offers the MLS degree, be certain that it is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Check to see if the school offers a major in music librarianship. Practical knowledge and experience can be gained through a program that requires an internship in a music library. Some universities offer courses of study that lead to the two master's degrees. Nonprofessional positions usually do not require outside training but can be equally interesting and rewarding.

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