Category Archives: Career

Advice for new music school graduates: First steps in launching your career


Congratulations, you’re a graduate. After competing with thousands of others to land a spot at your chosen school, you’ve finally obtained that coveted degree that will help launch your career. But after all the glitter from commencement parties and graduation gifts settle, many music education grads find themselves at a loss over how to start the next phase. It’s a common feeling that overwhelms beginners in pretty much every industry so don’t panic, you’re not alone. Here’s a simple list of helpful tips and advice for new music school graduates to help guide you through the often daunting career search.

Know (roughly) what you want 

The trick to kick-starting your career is honing in on what exactly where you think you may want to begin. After four years in a specialized school, chances are you have a pretty good idea what makes you tick by now. Focus on your skills but don’t ignore the things you dislike – it’s better to identify any potential problems in a career path before venturing down the wrong one.

Don’t know what you want? Don’t panic! 

There’s a lot to be said for trial and error. You may have started school with the intention of launching your own band or act and left sold on the notion of teaching. The great news about studying anything to do with music is that it’s mostly all connected and skills can be easily transferred. Be brave enough to explore an option that may never have crossed your mind before. It may end up becoming the thing you love  most and could lead to a long and successful career.

Seek advice

Talking to as many people as possible can be one of the most valuable ways to form a decision, so don’t be shy to ask for advice from anyone you feel could be qualified to give it. Don’t limit this to just the music industry, but seek expertise from anyone you think might be able to shed light on your search. The more you listen the more you learn about a variety of careers. Don’t be frightened if one person doesn’t give you the answer you were hoping for – not everyone’s experience is the same.

Pick a place 

Picking a city, state, country or even continent is a great place to start. Maybe you can’t find your dream job  straight away but honing in on one spot could help you lay the groundwork for the beginning of your career. If you narrow your search to a place where there is a good enough range of opportunities, you may find yourself having more success. Be sure to do your research and don’t look for possibilities where they don’t exist.

Plan ahead 

The trick to landing a job to move on to straight after graduation depends on how prepared you are. The most organized students will start looking for opportunities a year before commencement. This can feel like a daunting task when coupled with the mountainous workload expected of you in your final year, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do both at once. After all, one job done well is better than two that are barely finished.

Internships and apprenticeships are often a great way to line up real opportunities for after graduation. If you’ve had a good experience somewhere on a more casual basis, ask if there are any role vacancies or spots to fill around the time you’re due to leave. Often these more casual roles turn into a permanent position if it’s a good fit.

Be honest 

If you land yourself a job interview or audition (yay!), don’t be tempted to bluff your way through it. Sure, there are moments when a little optimistic up-selling is needed, but it’s important to know the difference between having confidence in your ability to adapt to a role and having genuine concerns that its requirements may be beyond you. If something feels like it’s beyond your reach, think about the skills you may need to handle it and if your experience matches up. If not, is there a way you can get yourself there? If all else fails, honesty is always the best policy.

Have a little faith 

You’ve come this far, what else can you achieve now? It’s daunting to leave a world of funded programs with dedicated tutors and constant support. Believe in your talents, whatever they are, and try to embrace the new normal. Being able to transform your passion and talent into a career is something many people only ever dream of. Be grateful to have found what it is that you love and persevere in the knowledge that you’ll soon figure out where you need to be and how to get there.

As Stephen Henderson, the 2017 Juilliard commencement speaker told his wide-eyed audience this year: ‘The ecstatic exhilaration shared with everyone who believes in you back then is back again.’

Music teacher salaries: How much do they make?


No matter if you want to become a music educator or you are just interested to see what music teacher salaries are like, you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to learn about how much the music educators can make per month. This way you can get a good insight into what the industry offers and if you are indeed ok with the paycheck that you can get here.

So, how much can a music educator make? There are lots of factors that you need to keep in mind here. Not only are there multiple regions with different paychecks, but each instructor also has his experience in this field. Some people are earning more than others, mostly due to their experience in the industry. With that in mind, it’s important to note that the median salary for a middle school music teacher is around $45000. The salary tends to start at $33000, and it can go up to $70000 or more based on region and experience.

It’s a very good salary, to be honest, and things only tend to get better as you move on to some other sectors. It’s an exciting opportunity and one that does tend to bring in front some amazing results for people that want to pursue this type of career.

When it comes to the high school music educators, you will note that the paycheck tends to be just slightly better. The average salary is around $48000, but at the same time, you will note that the starting point is at $34000 this time around. The highest salaries can easily go over $73000 for high school music educators, keeping in mind the factors we mentioned above.

College music teachers tend to have a very similar paycheck too. Of course, we still have to keep in mind that there are lots of colleges, some of them are focused solely on music and art, others are generalized. The ones with a focus on arts can pay a bit better. That being said, the starting point for a paycheck here is around $29000. The median paycheck is close to $49000, and you can get up to $78000 or sometimes a bit more as a music educator for college. It’s a good paycheck that can rival many other demanding jobs.

As you can see, the salaries of music educators in the US do tend to vary, but they are pretty good. If you want to pursue this type of career, then you will be quite impressed with the unique set of benefits that can be provided here. Not only can you get a competitive paycheck, but at the same time, you can help the musical talents of tomorrow. That can be an exciting venture and one that will obviously bring in front its set of rewards. You should check it out, that will impress you quite a bit, so just give it a try and you will be impressed with the benefits offered by this career!

How Robo-Advisors Can Help Music School Graduates Succeed

First, start keeping a budget

If you have recently graduated from music school and are having a hard time making ends meet, do not be surprised—you are hardly alone in that respect.  It is notoriously difficult to make a living as a musician.  Berklee reports that the starting base salary for an orchestral musician runs anywhere from $28,000-$143,000.  Needless to say, a lot of musicians are earning at the lower end of that bracket—and many musicians cannot find full-time employment at all.  Long-term unemployment is common.

If that is your situation, you may wonder how you will ever be able to save money for retirement.  Even if you eventually do start pulling in a high salary, you may be getting a late start at saving up a nest egg.  Plus, there is a good chance you will always be struggling just to pay your monthly bills.

Even so, that is a challenge these days for workers in all professions—not just musicianship.  Millennials in particular are having a very hard time saving for retirement—if they can save at all.

This is why there are now new investment products aimed specifically at consumers who have very little time and money to invest, but who still want to give themselves a shot a building p a retirement fund.  One of those products is known as a “robo-advisor.”

What Is a Robo-Advisor?

A robo-advisor is a software program which is designed to replace the role of a traditional human financial advisor.  So instead of getting advice on your investments from a human being, you just open an account, upload information about your financial situation and goals, and receive automated advice personalized to your needs.  You can then make investments directly through the same platform with a few simple clicks.

How a Robo-Advisor Can Help Struggling Musicians to Save for Retirement

Why use one of the top robo-advisors instead of going a more traditional route for your retirement investments?

  • Start investing even if you do not have a lot of money.  A lot of musicians have very small savings accounts—if they have anything saved at all.  But even if all you have is $100 to invest, you can do it through a robo-advisor.  By contrast, the entry barriers at traditional investment houses might be insurmountable.
  • Cut back on fees.  It is not cheap to talk to a human financial advisor—much less have one manage your portfolios for you.  Nonetheless, most people do not have time to learn how to manage their investments manually.  You want to focus on becoming a great musician, not starting a career in investing.  A robo-advisor offers you a third path—one where you can take a hands-off approach without paying the high fees commanded by traditional financial advisors.
  • With a robo-advisor, you can check up on your accounts anytime.  You do not need to call anyone or visit an office; you just log on using your desktop, laptop, or mobile device.  You can see how your investments are doing or make changes any time of the day or night.
  • If you need to ask a human expert a question about your finances, you may be able to do so—without paying an arm and a leg.  Many of these companies have advisors you can speak to over the phone.
  • The advice that you get is tailored to your situation, and if you need to revisit your investments later to diversify, the program will take care of it for you.  So you do not need to do the hard work of researching and rebalancing your portfolio yourself.

With so many different robo-advisors out there, how do you figure out which one to go with?  You should stick with companies which are well-established and which have strong reputations, and you should search for features which are a fit for your needs.  Two of the top choices right now are Betterment and Wealthfront.  Before you can figure out which one is right for you, you need to compare Wealthfront vs. Betterment by reading reviews.

Saving up for retirement as a struggling musician isn’t easy.  Even if you manage to find steady work, there is a good chance that you will be earning a low salary. And even if you find a job which pays well, it may well be a temporary gig.  Even if you only have a small amount of money saved, however, you can invest through a robo-advisor and build a nest egg!

Where Do Musicians Fall In Terms of Average Net Worth?

Where Do Musicians Fall In Terms of Average Net Worth?

If you are currently in music school, thinking about it, or have already graduated, you may be wondering how much money musicians actually make and what kind of net worth you can expect.

Berklee reports that there is actually quite a significant range in musician earnings, depending on where you end up:

• Orchestral musicians may start anywhere from $28,000-$143,000. This is for a full-time season. If you work a shorter season, your salary could be lower.

• If you work for a community orchestra, you might receive around $100-$120 for each of your performances.

• Military musicians earn anywhere from $21,000-$77,000.

• If you are a Broadway pit musician, you will probably earn $800-$1,500 per week for as long as the show is on.

• Club musicians may earn anywhere from $75-$125 for club dates.

If you check the link, you can find a much more comprehensive list covering numerous other music careers.

How does all of this average out?  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2015 median pay for musicians and singers came out to $24.20 per hour. Job growth is slow, however, and the BLS also reports that many musicians work only part-time or intermittently and suffer from long periods without work.

So if you find yourself struggling to get by on a musician’s salary, you should not be surprised. Even though the median hourly rate of pay is actually not too bad, over time it may not add up to a whole lot.

Being a musician often follows the “feast or famine” cycle of income. For a few months, you may be doing great—but then you end up out of work and burning through all the money you made.

Where Do You Fall in Terms of Average Net Worth?

If you try to look up the “average net worth of musicians,” you will find a lot of lists of the richest musicians alive. This is not very useful information, as it does nothing to shed light on the net worth of the average musician. There is really no point in comparing yourself with the highest earners.

A much more useful thing to do is to consider the average net worth of workers altogether, and then consider where you fall with regards to that.  The average net worth by age is actually quite a bit lower than you may think.  If you click through to the link, you will find a chart which compares the average net worth by age and percentile.

Are you under the age of 35?  If so, if you have just $7,000 or so (and that includes all of your assets, not just the balance in your bank account) to your name, then you are actually doing better than 50% of your peers.

It is difficult to extrapolate how you fit in with other musicians given this data, because there are so many variations where lifestyle is concerned. You might for example earn $30,000 a year as an orchestral musician, and you might sit next to a player who earns the same amount. Whereas you have $6,000 to your name, he might have $20,000.

Even if you graduated the same year and started working at the same time, there are many other factors to explain the difference in your net worth. He might have had more savings or borrowed less for school. He may work a second job. He may have a spouse who brings in a second stream of income. He may have fewer expenses.

The bottom line here is that comparing yourself to other musicians is only so useful. In the end, the only person you are really competing with financially is yourself. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you have a low net worth right now; you are trying to make it in a tough field where it is hard to find full-time work.

Do what you can to cut back on expenses and get more gigs. Consider a day job if you need one. Do not worry about what the guy in the next chair is making. Just focus on playing your best and saving and investing toward your financial goals.