Careers in Professional Music

student working on mixing board

Careers in music will depend largely on what area the student chooses to focus:

  • musician in live performance or studio work
  • composer/arranger
  • recording engineer/producer
  • sound editor
  • foley artist
  • private music instructor/coach
  • record promotion/distribution
  • music journalism
  • marketing and promotion

In a market the size of Portland, many professionals pursue multiple activities.

What will I do on the job?

There are a variety of careers for the music professional. Performers work solo or in small or medium sized groups. Producers and engineers work in recording and project studios. Writers and arrangers work on scores and soundtracks for studios, ad agencies, and film makers. Many opportunities involve marketing and promotion of music groups, products, and services.

What skills will I use on the job?

Professional music courses emphasize a broad range of skills from the technical to the artistic. In all areas of the program, skill and artistry are emphasized. Graduates of the program are employed in the music industry as engineers, producers, sound editors, foley artists, performers, private instructors and coaches, and writers who work with professionals who reflect these same qualities.

Who will hire me?

Most music professionals are self-employed or work in partnerships. As a music writer you will work with music groups, studios and publishing houses. Performers will work with clubs and organizations that feature live music, musical groups, and bands. As a recording professional you will work with independent studios and project partnerships. Most engineers and producers are self-employed. Private music teachers and coaches develop their own clientele and schedules. Many successful industry professionals will pursue a variety of activities.

How much can I earn?

The ever-changing music industry landscape is largely entrepreneurial. There is no wage scale as a music writer. However, this means there is no limit to what a resourceful writer or arranger can make. The wage scale for performers is dependent upon type of venue and number of engagements worked per week. Experienced engineers and producers can command large salaries. However, the field is competitive and client-dependent.


Course of Study

Employment Prospects

Gainful Employment Disclosure