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songwriter playing a songmusic producer at work stationrock star performing on stagetour manager making phone callmusic teacher with studentmusic therapy session

Performing & Writing Careers

Maybe you were born to perform. Or maybe, for you, there's nothing better than hearing a famous artist sing your songs. Welcome to the world of Performing and Writing careers!
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A young woman rock singer with tousled long hair holding a microphone and singing

Singer

A Singer performs the lead vocals of a song. Although he or she may have a backing band, the Singer is the star of the show. Learn More Avg. Salary: $46,571 Salary Range: $17,680 – $185,000,000 Alt Titles: Vocalist, Pop Star
DJ playing music on his turntables in a nightclub

DJ

A DJ plays songs at a nightclub, bar, rave, or party using vinyl records, CDs, or MP3s. The traditional DJ setup includes a mixer, two turntables, a sound system and headphones, although many now use... Learn More Avg. Salary: $40,000 Salary Range: $18K-$102K Alt Titles: Nightclub DJ, Deejay, Disc Jockey
A male music producer sits at a mixing console

Music Producer

A Music Producer writes, arranges, produces and records songs for other artists or for their own projects. Learn More Avg. Salary: $55,908 Salary Range: $39K-$78K Alt Titles: Beat Maker, Producer
Songwriter with acoustic guitar writing lyrics in notebook

Songwriter

A Songwriter crafts songs for another artist in hopes of creating a hit. Learn More Avg. Salary: $65,280 Salary Range: Alt Titles: Writer
Lyricist listening to music and writing ideas in her notebook

Lyricist

A Lyricist writes song lyrics for performance in songs, musicals, film/TV, and commercials. Learn More Avg. Salary: $25,627 Salary Range: $20K-$54K Alt Titles: Lyric Writer
Male Session Musician playing the drums

Session Musician

A Session Musician performs a backing track for another musician, while performing onstage or recording in studio. Learn More Avg. Salary: $54,600 Salary Range: Varies widely, can go up to $100,000 Alt Titles: Studio Musician, Backing Musician
Session singer wearing headphones and looking at sheet music in recording studio

Session Singer

A Session Singer sings backup with artists or provides vocals for movie, commercial, and TV scores. Learn More Avg. Salary: $40,000 Salary Range: $15,000-$65,000 Alt Titles: Background Singer, Backing Vocalist, Backup Singer, Studio Vocalist
Copyist writing sheet music while leaning on piano

Copyist

Transcribes musical parts from a score, either by hand or by using a computer program. Learn More Avg. Salary: $35,503 Salary Range: $20K-$56K Alt Titles: Music Copyist, Music Prep Person
Recording group rehearsing in studio

Recording Group

Records tracks that are released on albums and as singles. Learn More Avg. Salary: The SKY is the Limit! Salary Range: Alt Titles: Band, Recording Act, Recording Artist
Female show band singer holding microphone

Show Band

Professional musicians who perform at corporate events, charity galas, holiday parties, weddings, and other private celebrations. Learn More Avg. Salary: $100,258 Salary Range: $85K - $119K Alt Titles: Show Group, Floor Show Group
Dance/Cover Band member playing his guitar and singing into microphone on stage

Dance / Cover Band

Performs covers of popular songs so the audience can dance and have a good time at clubs, bars, casinos, lounges, and schools. Learn More Avg. Salary: $35,236 Salary Range: $18K-$68K Alt Titles: Bar Band, Tribute Band, Lounge Band, Production Show
Cruise ship with smaller boat on the ocean near mountains

Cruise Ship Musician

Cruise Ship Musicians perform a wide variety of music to entertain guests on board a cruise ship. Learn More Avg. Salary: $31,500 Salary Range: $24K-$39K Alt Titles: Cruise Ship Entertainer
Sound Designer working in his recording studio

Sound Designer

Provides audio support and sound design for the interactive entertainment industry. Learn More Avg. Salary: $40,827 Salary Range: $25K - $68K Alt Titles: Audio Designer, Sound Engineer, Audio Engineer, Audio Artist, Sound Artist, Creative Sound Designer, Technical Sound Designer
Jingle writer composing a guitar tune in his home recording studio

Jingle Writer

Writes music for commercials. Learn More Avg. Salary: $56,980 Salary Range: $36K-$89K Alt Titles: Commercial Jingle Composer, Jingle Composer
Jazz musician playing saxophone at outdoor concert with bandmates

Jazz Musician

Jazz Musicians are highly trained artists who perform original or repertoire jazz works in concert and in the recording studio. Learn More Avg. Salary: $50,934 Salary Range: $31K-$88K Alt Titles: Musician, Instrumentalist
Concertmaster playing his violin

Concertmaster

Leads violin section of the orchestra, performs as a soloist, decides on bowings for the first violins, and works closely with the Conductor. Learn More Avg. Salary: $75,000 Salary Range: $50K-$100k Alt Titles: Section Leader, 1st Violinist
Ceiling of opera theatre with crowd taking their seats

Opera Singer

An Opera Singer sings and acts out operatic pieces in a theatrical setting. Learn More Avg. Salary: $70,000 Salary Range: $60K-$200K Alt Titles: Singer, Classical Singer, Operatic Singer, Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Countertenor, Baritone, Bass
Accompanist playing piano in open studio space

Accompanist

An Accompanist is a pianist who accompanies singers, dancers, and instrumentalists for performances and rehearsals. Learn More Avg. Salary: $34,045 Salary Range: $33K-$35K Alt Titles: Collaborative Pianist, Accompanyist
Close up on a Composer's hands playing the piano

Composer

Composers create musical scores for TV, film, and computer games. They use live musicians and sampling to evoke the intended mood or emotion to mirror what’s happening onscreen. Learn More Avg. Salary: $40,452 Salary Range: $20K-$115K Alt Titles: Melodist, Symphonist
Arranger writing notes on sheet music

Arranger

Writes instrumentation and arrangements of musical notes for studio recordings and live performances. Learn More Avg. Salary: $54,400 Salary Range: $40K-$60K Alt Titles: Market Adapter, Transcriber
Closeup on an Orchestrator's hand writing notes on sheet music

Orchestrator

Orchestrators transpose music and write scores based off a Composer’s initial draft or sketch. Learn More Avg. Salary: $62,377 Salary Range: $13K-$175K Alt Titles: None
Church organist sitting with organ

Church Organist

Plays the organ at religious services and wedding ceremonies. Learn More Avg. Salary: $29,194 Salary Range: $17K-$41K Alt Titles: Organist, Church Musician
Video Game Composer writing music on his keyboard in a recording studio

Video Game Composer

Video Game Composers create musical scores for video games. Learn More Avg. Salary: Salary Range: $30,000 to $75,000+ Alt Titles: Video Game Music Composer, Composer
Background singer with microphone in closeup

Background Singer

The Background Singer performs solo or with other singers and musicians in a recording studio or live performance. Learn More Avg. Salary: $44,346 Salary Range: $18K-$101K Alt Titles: Singer, Studio Singer, Session Vocalist, Vocalist, Background Vocalist, Chorus Member
Rock Star on stage with her band

Rock Star

A Rock Star is the performer in the band who commands the most attention onstage, plays a key part in writing the band’s songs, and serves as the group’s spokesperson. Learn More Avg. Salary: Millions of dollars Salary Range: $100k-$1 million+ per gig Alt Titles: Pop Star, Frontman, Frontwoman
Production Music Writer working in his recording studio

Production Music Writer

Writes music that is usually licensed or sold to a Production Music Library. This music is then placed into TV shows, commercials, and films. The music composer generally splits their earnings with... Learn More Avg. Salary: $56,980 Salary Range: $36K - $89K Alt Titles: TV Music Writer, Commercial Music Writer, Film Music Composer, Music Producer, Jingle Writer
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