The Truth – Music Careers Part 1: Performance

Isn’t it weird how everybody has an opinion on what you’ve decided to study? We’re betting some of your parents or friends think they know what is best for you. We applaud them for looking out but it’s important to do your own research and not rely on hearsay and inaccurate facts and statistics that naysayers throw around. If you are thinking about studying music it is extra important that you do the proper research because so many myths exist about what awaits you after you graduate.  In this series of blogs we want to show you the real truth about having a career in music and all the wonderful things someone with a degree can do! In this ten part series we will be going in-depth into the different categories listed on LAMA’s Careers In Music Page, so that you have all the facts on every different career! In Part 1 we are going to dive into the career of “performance”. From being a session musician to a product demonstrator the careers are endless!

The most popular career after graduating from LAMA is the “Performing Artist” — either as a recording artist or in a group. One need only spend a few minutes checking out the LAMA “Success Stories” section of our website to know that students from LAMA have gone on to play in a diverse array of bands; from Tegan and Sara and Sepultera to American Idol star David Archuleta. Doors seem to open to the biggest names in music when they see what you have accomplished at a renowned school like LAMA. While your other friends are interviewing with 30+ other English and Psychology majors for a minimum wage job you can be jetting across the world playing festivals in Europe or getting ready to play on Letterman!

An often overlooked aspect of performance is becoming a session musician. A session musician or “hired gun” is called into the studio to perform a guitar solo, play bass on the entire record, or add in that oh so needed trumpet part.  In fact The Kinks wrote a song about it — might as well take a break and watch this vid…then continue reading below!

What distinguishes a session musician from a band member is that they are just there for a specific part or role and are not a permanent member of the band. However many session musicians have made the jump from “session player” to band member. The money can often be quite lucrative (never underestimate how badly that Metal band might need a Violin solo at 2am!) and the experience is unforgettable as you leave your mark on music history.

One of the most financially rewarding careers in music is becoming a “General Business Musician”. This is essentially a band or group of musicians that can switch seamlessly between playing a wedding, corporate retreat, baht mitzvah or even at an amusement park! The reason this is so financially rewarding is you aren’t playing for a tiny dive bar with your grunge band but instead are playing for businesses who have lots of money at their disposal. With 7 days out of the week that’s a lot of time to book your schedule and play lots of different affairs. WARNING: Performances generally pay upwards of 4 figures per gig, so your out of work friends who went to law school might need to crash at your place or borrow money!

Unfortunately, there are so many more great careers in “Performance” that this blog post could go on forever and ever, which is why we need to split the topic into many posts. In the meantime make sure to visit THIS LINK to see all the different categories of great music careers. Look forward to our next Careers blog post on—Songwriting! Until next time, we will leave you with Cinema’s favorite “General Business Musician”:

-LAMA staff

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