How to Turn Your Love of Music Into a Career
If you are a music lover or a songwriter, you may not think of music as something that can become anything more than a hobby. There are tons of stories about starving artists, and how only one in a hundred talented bands ever achieves any kind of success with their work. The reality is that there is more to music than the big-label music industry, and you don’t always need musical talent to find work in a music-related field. Whether you have mastered a couple instruments or you’re simply passionate about what other people produce, you may be able to find a place for yourself in the music world.
Education and Working in Education
The first thing you will need is a deep knowledge of music and music theory. Even if you are looking for a job that doesn’t require you to play an instrument or sing, you need to be able to prove that you know your stuff. People will more readily trust a critic who knows the technical side of the craft than someone who clearly doesn’t understand it.
While you’re getting educated on music in general, it’s a good idea to consider a degree in music education. Music education is a field where having some musical talent is a must. It is an extremely lucrative career in terms of the financial and personal rewards that it offers.
A degree in music education makes you a far more attractive prospect for parents who are looking for someone to teach their child how to play an instrument, and it opens doors in academia that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. With a music education degree in hand, you could play an integral role in keeping music programs in public schools. Someone with a music education degree clearly knows their stuff, and they will be able to find work in a large number of professions within the field of music as a whole. It’s definitely one of the best investments that someone who is passionate and talented can make.
Non-Musical Music Jobs
If you just don’t have it in you to create your own stuff, you can help ensure that other talented people are heard. As a talent scout, your ears are your most valuable asset. If you were to enter this profession, you would be performing the same role as the judges on American Idol, except instead of judging competitions, you would be scouring clubs for new talent.
Concert promoters work along similar lines in that they help bands and artists get their names out there. The difference is that concert promoters need a keen mind for business. They need to micromanage every detail about upcoming shows and they need to make sure that they get everything done while maintaining a profit. It’s a high-pressure gig that rewards those who are intelligent, clever, and dedicated.
Write What You Love
If you have ever dreamed of interviewing rock stars and promoting the music you love in a more casual way, you may want to become a music critic. It’s hard to break into the upper echelons of professional publications, but with advances in technology, it has never been easier to get started. You can usually nab interviews with small-time artists with little effort, and if you can prove that you’re not only capable of doing good interviews but also putting out substantive critiques, you may well get a shot at the big leagues.
The Quiet Life
If you don’t want to become part of the music business, you can always settle into a milder career that still provides an opportunity to work with music. One option is to become a music librarian. That mainly entails cataloging musical recordings and sheet music so that you can recommend the appropriate pieces to artists and movie directors.
There are a host of options available to you regardless of your specific talents or inclinations. Make sure that you explore all of the options before you write off a career in music; it’s more than just a pipe dream. It might not be as glamorous as you imagined, but there are many fulfilling careers available for those who are willing to do the work.
Shanna Buck blogs about careers in music, including music education. Several schools offer degrees in music education, including the University of Florida and New York University.