Live music performers may work as popular music artists, orchestra musicians, jazz musicians, rock band members or in theaters. Performers put on shows in many arenas including community theaters, local nightclubs, production studios and film companies. If you think you have what it takes to work as a performer, earning an online degree while waiting on gigs could put you on the right footing for success.

Many performers begin training at an early age, but it’s never too late to start. Performers commonly teach while working toward a more lucrative situation, so some of these degree suggestions could come in handy:

  • Bachelor’s degree in music, performance studies or instrumental training
  • Master’s degree in music
  • Teaching accreditation, which varies from state to state

Performers also need voice training and music lessons in addition to formal studies.

Performer Job Description

Performers spend most of their time practicing and training their voices and/or instruments. Many performers play more than one instrument. Vocal performers often sing in more than one style to open up multiple opportunities for professional gigs. When not in training, performers audition and rehearse. Within this highly competitive field, a performer is likely to audition many times before acquiring a job.

Performers are passionate about their jobs, often sacrificing free time and leisure to develop and improve their skills. Whether they have a regularly scheduled job, such as playing in an orchestra, or jump from gig to gig, as singers commonly do, rehearsal and practice play a significant role in maintaining work opportunities. Performers often travel, and work nights and weekends.

On any given day, a performer may do the following:

  • Train in voice lessons and with musical instruments.
  • Practice voice and instrumental skills.
  • Attend auditions.
  • Rehearse for performances or theatrical events.
  • Teach private music lessons.
  • Teach music in private or public schools.

Performers require stamina, patience and a clear picture for their professional goals. It may take many years for a talented performer to find the right gig. Commitment to the craft and the ability to handle rejection allows a performer to persevere.

Performer Salary

The number of job opportunities for performers is expected to grow by about 8%. This is average compared to other professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the area of most significant growth through 2018 is anticipated to be within the religious music industry. The ability to personally produce and market music online is also expected to offer increased opportunities for performers.

The average wage-and-salary rates for a performer range from $11.49 to $36.36 per hour, as noted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Professionals working for a performing arts company average $24.00 per hour. Self-employed performers vary greatly in compensation depending of type and duration of gig. A limited number of performers earn regular substantial salaries.

Get Matched With Schools