44 Music Careers to Choose From

Musician tryin gto find a job

“Hey, what’s wrong Jumbo stop being a baby?” Toe said.

“Shut up man, I’m just being expressive dude. Leave me alone.” Jumbo replied.

“If you don’t tell me what’s going on I’m not gonna treat you to the “Burrito mansion” up on Pico Ave. Spill it bro!” Toe said.

“I want that burrito monster supreme. Okay, okay, I’m just running out of dough and this gigging thing ain’t cutting it. We do our gigs and rake in some cash but it’s not enough to pay my bills. Especially Netflix.” Jumbo mentioned.

“But Netflix is less than $10 a month.” Toe retorted.

“Ya it’s that bad, I have to cancel my subscription and I’m gonna miss out on “House or Cards.” Jumbo flustered.

“What? No way, I love “House of Cards” that’s gonna suck.” Toe blasted. “Now I’m just as depressed as you.”

“I dunno what to do.” Jumbo said.

“Hey I’ve noticed you’re really great at maintaining and repairing my drums and your bass. You seem to have a knack for fixing things” Toe said. “Why don’t you get some business cards and start an instrument repair service?” Toe said.

“Huh? Repair service? How come I never thought of that?” Jumbo said.

“Because you’re a moron and only think about is music and burritos.” Toe answered.

“True.” Jumbo replied.

There are many ways to make a living in the music industry. Performing and writing are just jobs that everyone wants because they want that fame and fortune.

My Story

If you’re a struggling musician it doesn’t hurt to get a job on the side for the time being, while you build your music career. For me while I was building clout in the business I tried to figure out what kind of job I could apply for. I use to work at Jack in the Box back in the late 90’s, that was my first job. If you were my buddy I could hook you up clean, because I knew all the discount codes.

I didn’t want to stay I fast food or customer service. Customers were a pain to deal with, they were always complaints. Not for me.

I wanted a job that involved music.

One day I was looking for a piece of sheet music for bass. So I went online to find any nearby sheet music stores. Turns out there was this company called J.W. Pepper Music of Los Angeles. The largest sheet music retailer in the country, I found the address and discovered the store was literally 10 minutes down the street from my house.

I hopped on my Acura Integra 95″ with a rear spoiler and raced to the store. The store was an enormous warehouse full of sheet music, I was in love.

I asked the customer service for a certain type of music but they didn’t know anything about it. So they asked their manager and he started looking it up in the computer database. As I was waiting I started browsing around and started thinking this would be a cool place to work for.

The manager came over and told me the music I was looking for had to be ordered. I ordered it, but was also curious about if they’re were any job openings. I was already gigging on the side and working at Jack in the Box full time. I needed to release myself from the clutches of fast food.

The manager asked me what’s my experience in music. I told him I knew everything about orchestral, jazz, choir music and that Ive been a musician for almost 15 years and played 5 instruments and that I been currently worked 4 years working in customer service at Jack in the Box.

He seemed impressed and gave me an application. I filled it out and turned it in the next day and within a couple days I got hired.

Woo-hoo, bye, bye Jack In the Crack!

It was a good 3 year run at J.W. pepper music, during that time I started teaching music on the side for extra cash. I had a knack for it and it involved performing and teaching music. I believe music education, performance and writing was my calling.

J.W. Pepper music was a sheet music retailer, selling sheet music was cool but it wasn’t my calling.

I got a teaching gig at Yamaha Music Academy and started building my student clientele and at the same time starting increasing my clout as a musician. Teaching gave me a flexibility because I was an independent contractor and got to choose my own hours. I’m pretty much 80% my own boss, the only downside was if I didn’t teach I didn’t get paid, so I had to hustle.

That’s my mini story, but what about you?

I have compiled a list of music centered jobs for you to choose from. Hey you might discover an untapped skill you might have which will make twice as valuable.

44 Music Careers to choose from.

Separated by category.


  1. Orchestral Musician: Starting base: $28,000 – $143,000
  2. Broadway Pit Musician: $800 – $1500+/week for the duration of the gig
  3. Cruise Ship Musician: Starting salaries in the cruise industry range from $1,850 to $2,200 USD/month for sidemen.
  4. Cover Band: $150 – $300+/musician for each gig
  5. Freelance Musician: $75 – $125+/person for club date. Sometimes bands perform for a % of the door (cover charge)
  6. Church Musician: $100+/service
  7. Session Musician: Extremely wide range, up to $100,000+
  8. Studio Musician: Union scale – pay rate varies according to the situation. Generally there is an hourly fee ($80 – $127+/hour)
  9. Military Band: $21,000 – $77,000
  10. Orchestra Conductor: $15,000 – $275,000
  11. Church Choir Director: $5,000 – $70,000


  1. Arranger: $20,000-$43,000+
  2. Conductor: $15,000-$275,000+
  3. Orchestrator: Work is paid by the line, page, or the hour.
  4. TV Show Composer:  $1,500 – $7,500+/30 minute episode $2,000 – $15,000+/60 minute episode $2,000 – $55,000+/TV movie
  5. Commercial Composer: $100 – $8,000+/commercial
  6. Film Composer: $0 – $10,000+/Student film $2,500 – $500,000+/Indie Feature (package deal) $35,000 – $2mil+/Studio Feature (package deal)
  7. Film Score Conductor: American Federation of Musician’s scale for conducting is 200% – 300% of player “scale” wages for a single performing musician for each session.
  8. TV Movie Composer: $1,500 – $55,000+/television movie
  9. Music Editor: $1,000 – $5,000/week Package deals vary depending on project
  10. Video Game Composer: $30,000 – $75,000+ for Creative Fee deal – interactive game (30 min. of music) $30,000 – $60,000+ for Package Fee deal – interactive game (30 min. of music) – covers composing and all expenses. $300 – $600 per minute of finished music for casual games (creative fee only)

Audio Tech

  1. Assistant Engineer: $18,000-$28,000
  2. Recording/Mix Engineer: $35,000-$75,000
  3. Audio Lead: $60,000-$95,000
  4. Sound Designer: $40,000-$120,000+
  5. Foley Artist: $35,000-$75,000
  6. Editor: $35,000-$60,000
  7. ADR Recordist: $25,000-$50,000
  8. Front of House Engineer: $60,000-$120,000+
  9. Record Producer: $25,000-$1,000,000+
  10. Bioacoustician: $20,000-$100,000+

Music Business

  1. Instrument Maker: $15,000-$65,000
  2. Instrument Repair Tech: $9-$55/hour
  3. Piano Tuner: $100-$185/tuning
  4. Music Dealer Sales: $13,000-$50,000
  5. Music Blogger: $23,000-$66,000+
  6. A&R Representative: $27,000-$85,000+
  7. Music Attorney: $70,000-$150,000+
  8. Artist Manager: 10%-50% of Artist’s Earnings
  9. Road Manager: $25,000-$150,000+
  10. Concert Promoter: $0-$1,000,000

Music Education

  1. Private Music Instructor: $30-$120/hour
  2. Public School Teacher: $30,000-$71,181
  3. Clinician: $300-$500/Clinic
  4. Choir Director: $20,000-$42,000

(note: Salaries may be subject to change based on job demand.)


  1. Be responsible with your money.
  2. Take care of the essentials.( Netflix doesn’t qualify.)
  3. Be opened minded of other job opportunities.
  4. Don’t let anything distract you from your dreams.
  5. Focus.

I hope this was fruitful insight for your career and as always please leave a comment below


Have you ever had any weird side jobs?

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