Ancillary Music Careers
We get lots of posts by young people looking for a career as a soloist or orchestral player, but who probably won't be able to make a stable living that way. What are some ancillary careers that will keep these posters in the music world, even though they may not have the skill/education to become orchestral players? And what does one need to do to get there?
e.g. Majoring in jazz studies and non profit management qualifies someone to run a small non profit that puts on monthly jazz concerts! Cool job- you get to meet great musicians and talk about jazz all day (if that's your thing).
Arts management jobs don't pay well unless you're at a very senior level -- and figure you will want to get an MBA or equivalent.
Lydia- some people are okay not making big bucks. I served on a board many years ago that put on 6 concerts a year, had some outreach programs, and paid our executive director $56k + benefits. In a southern city with low cost of living and no state income tax. Arts management jobs might minimally give someone enough salary and benefits to gig at night or at least stay somewhat in the game. They are still more lucrative and easier than public school jobs. And jobs in school districts are getting really competitive! Don't assume that your viola performance undgrad degree is going to get you a decent living. In most states, you'll need a teaching certificate- your performance degree means nothing.
Our colleagues over in the theater dept. have a more realistic approach. The prospective, hopeful, young actors also learn ancillary crafts; set design, carpentry, lighting, electronics, costume and clothing construction, make-up, etc. Those skills frequently become the pay-check that pays the rent while they are auditioning for acting jobs.
Julie, as far as I know, it's possible to become certified in multiple subjects, at least in my state (Maryland). You need the educational background for it, and you'd only hold one job at a time, but multiple subject areas gives you flexibility as to what job to take.
Most states allow for multiple certification, yes. Provided you have a dual major or multiple degrees. For example, dual major in music/biology. (Maryland is probably on the lax end, Massachusetts is on the stricter end, just guessing.) But for practical purposes, getting certified and maintaining certification in multiple subjects isn't practical in almost every state. You'd have to hold multiple undergrad majors or obtain post grad coursework that is essentially another major just to qualify for the certification in most states. A math major just can't decide to take a certification test and a couple of classes and be an English teacher, for example. They would have to take all the course work they would have taken to get an English major, then meet additional ELA requirements for their certification.
Just out of curiosity, is there a thing like a minor degree in violin performance? If there is such thing, how does it compare to a proper music major in skill and perspective in getting a paid in performing music (even if it is not full time or a proper career soloist etc)?
I'm not at all sure this is a good idea.
What about composition? Are there any job markets for that (eg film composition or something)?
Nina, I earned my MMus in Composition. I still remember my grad school interview at Eastman with Samuel Adler. His first question to me was along the line of:
Nah, didn't attend Eastman. Rochester is a boring place!
"-is there a minor in performance?" There are a few at private colleges. None of the public schools in my state do that. At my school I lobby for that at every opportunity. The rationale is; The private teachers produce a lot of intermediate to advanced players at the High School ages. The majority, quite wisely, will major in something outside of music in their college years, the practicing and playing drops off dramatically, perhaps never to return. A minor in music performance would be something like: private lessons, ensembles, a lower level recital, a little bit of piano, theory, history. The lessons could be taught by the the graduate students in performance, at lower cost. This obviously would not be for professionals, but for upper level amateurs and semi-pros who want to do some music during college and for the rest of their lives.
I'm with Julie here...
I believe Bruce Berg mentioned that there's now an interesting performance minor at Baylor, where he was teaching. I would have been much more likely to have kept up with my music in college if I had been doing a performance minor. (Although my private teacher, outside the university, noted that it was actually better for me to not to have to adhere to the jury schedule, since it placed artificial deadlines on work that needed to be done.)
Actually, in Texas, once you are certified to teach a subject, all you need do to add another subject to your certification is to take and pass the relevant test. That's how my husband ended up with five certifications (English, German, speech, journalism, and theater arts). No minimum number of credit hours required (according to him--I just asked).
Yes, we do get some young musicians wondering about how they can become a paid professional musician. Like any other field, there are a limited number of paid professional positions. There is no single answer other than to say that everyone needs a backup plan.
You can double major at a regular state university -- performance and something else. The thing is that "something else" can't be incredibly time-intensive. It can't be chemistry or engineering or architecture. It can be math or psychology or economics or marketing or finance. But your life will be very regimented and there will not be a lot of time to "smell the roses" or engage in tertiary extracurriculars. And it helps if you come in to college with a huge pile of AP credits to wipe out half of your general education requirements. But it can be an okay route for someone who really envisions themselves as a day-jobber but still wants to build solid violinistic skill for life-long enjoyment as an amateur with maybe the occasional gig.
Wow! Texas is really lax. That has not been my experience teaching in 3 states. The additional requirements in Florida to transfer my certification were so absurd I switched careers when we moved there.
Wow Mary Ellen! That's awesome! I wish they would offer that (or had offered that when I taught) to us in NY.
Speaking of ancillary career, it reminds me an incident in not so distant past.
My point was not to rehash this same discussion where a bunch of engineers tell people to go into stem fields because it's been great for them.
Well it was a long time ago, and I had no interest in the world in actually teaching multiple subjects, but I majored in music ed (and performance), plus physics/math. But it was intense, as described above. I did it because I had an interest in all those subjects. But all along I knew I didn't want to teach music in the public school system with they types of students who had been my peers. That would have been death.
There's always the music history side of things, as well -- generally those are university professorships. That's just as competitive as becoming a performer, though, I suspect.
Add to the list: Development (fundraising)
A BSN with a music therapy specialization would pay well and you'd probably be in demand. I recently read an article about teaching music to the elderly as an intervention to manage cognitive decline...
Music therapy is its own field separate from nursing.
Yes, music therapy is separate. But since psychotherapy iis not particularly well reimbursed in the US, even art and music therapists with clinical licensure (that is, a masters in counseling, an MFT, or a LCSW) struggle to put together full-time work. Those with a Bachelors can’t receive health insurance reimbursement in almost all states, so their employability is pretty low. The art and music therapists (with clinical licensure) I know may work a few hours each at several rehab, nursing, and adult day programs in their city and have a couple private clients for whom they compete with other psychotherapists. The latter clients aren’t likely to stay around for more than 12 sessions, since that is frequently the max insurance will pay. I suppose you could put that together with teaching music lessons and have enough to live on...
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