Performance Careers

When you think about a career in music, you probably think about a job performing music. Take a look at all the different Performance Careers you can choose for a career in performing music!

Accompanist An Accompanist provides musical accompaniment to another musician or singer.
Background singer Background singers, or backing vocalists, provide vocal harmony to a lead singer. They sometimes sing alone with a counter-melody or lead in for the lead singer.
Band Director A band director leads a musical group during performances or recording sessions. They select arrangements and rehearse the band.
Broadway Pit Musician A pit musician is someone who plays the score of a musical or play. Pit musicians are often multi-instrumentalists, playing a family of instruments (like woodwinds).
Cantor A cantor is someone who sings the call in Christian services while the choir or congregation sings the response. In Jewish services, the cantor, also called a hazzan, conducts services on weekdays, Sabbath, and holidays with the rabbi.
Chamber Musician A chamber musician plays in a chamber ensemble. A chamber ensemble usually has no more than 50 musicians and they play in smaller rooms.
Choir Director A choir director leads rehearsals and performances of vocal groups. Directors may also be composers, arrangers, and conductors. They choose pieces the group will perform and may recruit performers. They also do administrative work.
Church Choir Soloist A church choir soloist is a singer who performs with a religious chorus. The soloist performs pieces written for individual or small groups of voices.
Church Organist A church organist may play solo works or accompany a church choir or the congregation.
Club Performer A club performer is a musician who plays in a nightclub, bar, or another small establishment. They tend to play covers with their band.
Conductor A conductor leads an ensemble of musicians. They choose, study, and analyze a piece to be performed. They conceive a vision for the piece and coax that interpretation from the ensemble.
DJ A DJ in a club or live event plays recorded music for their audience. They will align the tempo between songs to ensure a smooth transition. They may re-mix other artists' songs to create something personal and new.
Foley Artist A foley artist uses physical objects to create sounds and sound effects for a film. Foley artists create sounds like punches during a fight scene, animal sounds, or creaky floors. They do not create sound effects like explosions.
Military Band and Orchestra Musician Each branch of the United States military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard) has multiple service bands. Each service has ensembles that range from large bands, orchestras, and choruses, to small ensembles. Musicians in these ensembles are full-time musicians. Some branches require musicians to attend boot camp.
Opera Chorus Member An opera chorus member is a regular full-time employee of an opera company. They perform and sing as a group, forming the backbone of the opera, as a cast of unnamed characters.
Opera Soloist An opera soloist is a highly trained performer who may regularly perform with their "home" company, but they also travel to other companies to play specific roles.
Orchestral Musician An orchestral musician is a performer who plays in an orchestra. Many classical musicians aspire to this kind of job. Getting into a top-tier, or large city orchestra can be extremely difficult but equally rewarding.
Session musician A session musician is a musician who is hired to play on a recording session without being part of a regular band. Another name for this job is a studio musician.
Singer A singer interprets the lyrics and melody of a song and performs the work for an audience or records the work for distribution.
Studio Musician (TV, Film, Radio) A studio musician is a musician who is hired to play on a recording session without being part of a regular band. Another name for this job is a session musician.

There are many Performance Careers to choose from. This list can be a stepping stone for picking which of the performance careers is right for you.