What Does An Instrumental Musician Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Instrumental Musicians

Instrumental Musicians play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Instrumental Musicians play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

  • Practice musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Perform before-live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.
  • Specialize in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.
  • Play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Instrumental Musicians practice musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music or to maintain and improve skills. They specialize in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.

A typical day for an Instrumental Musician will also include:

  • Play from memory or by following scores.
  • Play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.
  • Teach music for specific instruments.
  • Listen to recordings to masterpieces or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Transpose music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Instrumental Musicians also sight-read musical parts during rehearsals. They may also perform before live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Instrumental Musicians listen to recordings to masterpieces or to maintain and improve skills. They might also transpose music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes.

In addition, they teach music for specific instruments.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them direct bands or orchestras.

To some Instrumental Musicians, it is also their responsibility to arrange and edit music to fit style and purpose.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

75% said they were satisfied with their job and 83% said they found their job meaningful.


Constanza Roeder

When I arrive on the unit, I sanitize my electric piano and check in with the charge nurse. The charge nurse gives me a list of patients to visit that day. Then I go room to room and offer to sing and play music for patients and caregivers. At the end of the day, I debrief with the charge nurse and refer any patients showing signs of emotional distress to the psychosocial support team.

Pros and Cons

This is the best and the hardest job I’ve ever had. I feel honored to accompany people during the hardest times of their lives and offer them a moment of joy, beauty, and peace. Patients often cry with relief and gratitude as my music caresses their weary souls. It’s also the hardest job because I tend to work with high acuity patients on oncology and bone marrow transplant units. The mortality rate is high and avoiding caregiver fatigue is an ever-present challenge. I’m grateful to have the flexibility to take a day off when I experience the loss of a beloved patient. Even so, I couldn’t be more thankful to do this meaningful work. I get a front-row seat to see the power of music and the arts to help humans transcend their circumstances.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to follow routines.

How much do they make

Average salary

$ per year

Average hourly wage

$42 per hour

Entry-level Instrumental Musicians with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $* to $* per year or $11 to $18 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $* $87
Senior (Top 25%) $* $55
Median $* $31
Junior (Bottom 25%) $* $18
No experience (Bottom 10%) $* $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Instrumental Musicians based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Civic and Social Organizations $ $17.71
Performing Arts Companies $ $48.47
Local Government $ $37.60
General Merchandise Stores $ $19.36
Spectator Sports $ $25.20
Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water $ $21.35
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events $ $50.74
Motion Picture and Video Industries $ $*
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers $ $35.27
Sound Recording Industries $ $*

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Instrumental Musicians work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Instrumental Musicians including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Performing Arts Companies 15960 $ $48.47
Religious Organizations 8670 $ $38.27
Elementary and Secondary Schools 2230 $ $29.77
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 1760 $ $29.95
Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers 1550 $ $35.27
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events 930 $ $50.74
Other Schools and Instruction 830 $ $32.98
Sound Recording Industries 460 $ $*
Local Government 340 $ $37.60
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 240 $ $31.99

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
80%

40 hours
9%

More than 40 hours
12%

Working schedule

51%

22%

27%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
39%

Every day
24%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
20%

Every day
7%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
15%

Every day
37%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
46%

Once a year
41%

Once a month
4%

Once a week
1%

Every day
8%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
2%

Slightly competitive
0%

Moderately competitive
7%

Highly competitive
6%

Extremely competitive
84%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
4%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
29%

Every day
56%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
27%

Once a year or more
63%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
51%

Once a year or more
48%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
4%

Once a year or more
88%

Once a month or more
7%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
1%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
1%

High School Diploma or equivalent
13%

Post-Secondary Certificate
1%

Some College Courses
8%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
38%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
1%

Master’s Degree
21%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
12%

Post-Doctoral Training
6%

Relevant majors

No majors found

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
8%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
14%

2 to 4 years
17%

4 to 6 years
22%

6 to 8 years
6%

8 to 10 years
12%

Over 10 years
17%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
44%

1 month
12%

1 to 3 months
1%

3 to 6 months
12%

6 months to 1 year
7%

1 to 2 years
2%

2 to 4 years
5%

4 to 10 years
1%

Over 10 years
17%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

The Builder
38%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
19%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
95%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
29%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
57%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
14%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
76%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
52%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
62%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
76%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
29%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
38%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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