Careers

Follow the music

Five career options for aspiring musicians that you might not know about

There are several steps to determining a career path, including reflecting on your passions and learning what nurtures them. One common interest among people is music and it’s important to discuss all of the options available in this field. 

Earning money in the music industry can be done through careers outside of being a performer. Many jobs in music require musical ability, yet other skills are just as critical. These include organizational, technical and administrative capabilities. If this piques your interest, here are some musical jobs to think about: 

Music director

Music directing involves overseeing and organizing music programs for places like churches, concert halls and other venues. Music directors usually have musical abilities and can play instruments. They use these talents to direct other employees and volunteers. 

Kye Andrews, a 27-year-old music director at Toronto’s Forest Grove United Church, got the position by starting as a volunteer for the music program and then working his way up. 

“I was interning with the former music director. I kind of stuck to the previous music director like glue, actually,” Andrews says. “I tried to soak up as much of what was going on around there as possible for a number of years.” 

While Andrews got the position by volunteering his musical talents and making himself an integral part of the program, some music director jobs may require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Music directors must ensure all musical performances run smoothly. This includes overseeing the progress of other singers and musicians. Andrews also stresses the importance of being good with people. 

“Excellent people skills and administrative skills help me run everything,” he says. “It’s not only with musicians and colleagues too, but the patrons of the church.” 

Becoming a music director may be a great choice for musical multitaskers, people who enjoy teaching and those who love to oversee the steps to making a performance come to life. 

Piano tuner

This is a great career choice for those fascinated by the inner workings of this staple instrument. A piano tuner makes house calls and service calls to organizations, venues and other establishments.

Careers in Music notes that some piano tuners are trained to help with other repairs and services in addition to tuning, such as replacing broken parts. Piano tuners generally have to travel for their profession, as pianos are heavy and difficult to transport. 

Leela Khurana lives in Toronto and has been a piano tuner for many years. 

Becoming a piano tuner can involve schooling from an institution and an apprenticeship. Some piano tuners are self-taught or take shorter courses. Khurana chose to enrol in a program. 

“I did the piano technology certification program at the University of Western Ontario in London; it was one of the top two programs in North America. Sadly, the program folded in 2014,” she says.

Khurana enjoys the flexibility of her schedule, meeting interesting people and the fact that every piano is unique. 

“I love being my own boss, it’s a lot of work but the rewards are definitely worth it,” she says. “There’s never a dull moment in the world of piano tuning!”

Andrews’ career as a music director at Forest Grove requires tuning services from a piano tuner like Khurana. 

“I practice piano to continue my musical education and expertise and to get away from old habits of sticking with guitar,” Andrews says. “The piano is directly related to my work as a music director so I need a good tuner.”

Audio engineer 

Audio engineers will always be essential in the music industry. Many people thrive behind the scenes and enjoy the science behind music, making it a fulfilling and practical career path. 

There are countless schooling options for aspiring audio engineers, especially in Ontario. Some include The Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology, Fanshawe College and Metalworks Institute. 

Other examples include Douglas College in Vancouver and College of the North Atlantic which has various locations in Atlantic Canada. Recording Arts Canada also offers online learning. Audio engineer schooling usually lasts around two years; however, some programs may be shorter. 

There are plenty of career options in the world of audio engineering. 9Guiders highlights everything from research and development audio engineers, wireless microphone engineers, system engineers and studio sound engineers. 

Music teacher

While it’s a well-known career choice, many people may not be aware of the different ways you can teach music in a classroom. 

According to Masters Education, music teachers can teach students both the fundamentals and history of music. 

Music teachers are often a source of inspiration for young people to discover their interests and career goals for the first time. Becoming a music teacher is also a great way to consistently play music while instructing others. 

To work in a school in Canada, music teachers must earn a bachelor’s degree followed by teaching certification. For example, teachers in Ontario must obtain certification from the Ontario College of Teachers. Teaching requirements vary depending on the province, so it’s important to do your research. 

Concert and event promoter

Post-secondary education isn’t for everyone when they finish high school. Sometimes, diving headfirst into your career path and learning through experience is a more appealing route.

Becoming a concert promoter doesn’t require post-secondary education, although a bachelor’s degree in marketing can be helpful. Furthermore, people with a sales and customer service history may have an advantage by having experience interacting with the public.
The career of a concert or event promoter involves figuring out the music niche you’d like to promote. This career also includes networking, developing marketing and branding strategies and researching your target audience. Indeed’s career guide explains even more job duties about this role. 

About the author

Brittany is a reporter for Youth Mind. When she isn’t working hard to become a full-time writer, she can be found making a dinner reservation, rewatching her favourite movies, or reading about True Crime.

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