Musician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Musicians and Singers Career Video



Plays one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as a member of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Performing Arts pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Practices musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music and to maintain and improve skills.
  • Performs before live audiences.
  • Specializes in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.
  • Plays musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.
  • Plays from memory or by following scores.
  • Sight-reads musical parts during rehearsals.
  • Auditions for orchestras, bands, or other musical groups.
  • Provides the musical background for live shows such as ballets, operas, musical theatre, and cabarets.
  • Transposes music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes.
  • Promotes their own or their group's music by participating in media interviews and other activities.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Cellist -- Plays the cello professionally, usually as a part of a large symphony orchestra.
  • Concert Pianist -- Performs as a soloist in concert performances.
  • Drummer -- Plays drums to provide a rhythmic/percussive element that the music requires.
  • Flutist -- Plays a flute, most often in an orchestra or a group.
  • Guitarist -- Plays guitar solo or more usually in a band or ensemble; the ‘rhythm’ guitar usually accompanies a singer, ‘lead’ guitar plays solos.
  • Harpist -- Plays the harp in classical settings, such as orchestras, symphonies, ensembles, and even solo acts.
  • Violinist -- Plays the violin, an instrument quite common and popular in classical music, though also employed in other fields and musical styles.