Yes, music internship jobs are in demand. The job market for analysts is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028.
|Year||# Of Jobs||% Of Population|
|Year||Avg. Salary||Hourly Rate||% Change|
Mouse over a state to see the number of active music internship jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where music interns earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.
|Rank||State||Population||# of Jobs||Employment/|
|1||District of Columbia||693,972||96||14%|
|Rank||City||# of Jobs||Employment/|
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Appalachian Music Festival
Angelo State University
Fayetteville State University
University of California San Diego (UCSD)
Yi-Yang Chen: Use of technology - from teaching tools, lesson techniques to conducting a final round of "full-day campus interview" on Zoom.
Yi-Yang Chen: - Quick adapting to the changes. - Lesson communication skills on the internet world.
Yi-Yang Chen: Nothing has changed in my institution. But there is no secret that there are many schools that have announced the salary cut.
Janelle Ott: I expect that the pandemic will have a "ripple effect" on the arts. Most musicians make at least part of their income in education, either through working directly with school music programs or through teaching private lessons informally. The experience of many of my colleagues suggests that the sudden move to online learning, as well as restrictions on ensemble activities, has resulted in lower than average enrollment in many middle school arts programs. It is possible that this dip in enrollment could affect the number of musicians entering the field in the next decade, and some school districts may choose to make cuts to their faculty base to reflect lower student enrollment rates.
Most professional musical groups either cut or significantly scaled back their performance schedules starting in mid-March of 2019. Many professional musicians have a variable income and depend on income generated in April and May to get through summer months, when there are fewer performances scheduled. The sudden loss of income has forced many individuals to seek employment in other fields. Those musicians who have maintained a performance schedule have adapted to a style featuring smaller groups and live streaming via the internet. The extent to which this change will be permanent is yet to be seen. In general, this model of employment appears to be less stable than large ensemble contracted positions and income generated by performances for large live audiences.
Music-related retailers are also struggling. Some retailers have cut back on staff, others have gone out of business completely. These retailers were already struggling to compete with online big-box stores; the move to online ordering was intensified when states began to close non-essential businesses and families began to practice social distancing.
Janelle Ott: Music is a diverse field; graduates may find themselves working in retail, as school teachers, for a nonprofit, or in a music-related field such as recording engineering or administrative work for a venue or organization. Many recent graduates in Texas choose to work in primary or secondary education. In the current climate, I suspect that a fair amount of a recent graduate's day will be spent designing and facilitating remote lesson plans. It is plausible that a young band director will be expected to take on more of the technological aspects of online learning, especially if they are joining a team that is less comfortable with online tools such as Zoom and SmartMusic. In cases where music programs are expected to provide both in-person and remote learning, I expect that newer and younger teachers would generally do more work with the remote learning than in-person learning.
Remote learning has necessitated a more individualized approach to the arts; large ensemble performances are often impossible and therefore must be replaced with individual assessments. Some programs are also developing an approach to arts in which individual contributions can be combined to present larger-scale works; there is a basic level of online editing that must be mastered to achieve these results.
Individuals who choose to develop a private studio will have a difficult start at this time; there are fewer students available, and many students have chosen to take a break from private lessons. Even established lesson teachers are reporting significantly diminished studio size, and many have had to find supplemental income from non-music related work. The lesson teachers who are most successful are the ones who develop excellent communication with students and their parents, and who have become very comfortable with online learning applications such as Zoom and FaceTime. Studio lesson teachers now spend most of their day at home, teaching lessons remotely.
Janelle Ott: In some ways, the financial challenges in this field have intensified rather than changed. Flexibility, networking skills, and willingness to learn to work with new platforms are vital to a musician's success. Musicians have often relied upon diversified income streams to maintain stability; this is even more true in today's environment. Knowing how to cultivate and market an online presence will likely become more beneficial as we become more comfortable with online learning and performance models.
Proficiency with online learning and communication tools will likely become a marketable trait. For all its shortcomings, the convenience of online learning will likely ensure its continued presence in educational practices.
Cailin Manson: This depends on the type of position for which one applies. Music (and the performing arts, for that matter) employ so many more people than what an "audience" sees or hears-i.e. the people onstage or on screen, those actively performing. The audio and sound engineers, lighting designers, videographers, production directors, stage workers, artist managers, marketing and communications staff, fundraisers, executive producers and administrators, copyright and legal consultants, research and editing, the list goes on-all of these have a part to play.
A resume must demonstrate that the applicant has had solid training in the discipline and has a body of work (or samples of work) that attest to a consistency of quality. One hopes to see some experience with administration and planning, work with digital publishing software and social media platforms, knowledge of technology and demonstrated examples of how the candidate has leveraged those tools in their work; any combination of that.
These times call for people who can think both abstractly and practically: true problem-solvers with a unique point-of-view and an authentically inclusive manner of working. Applicants who exhibit a real entrepreneurial spirit backed up by tangible skills and experience are real standouts.
Cailin Manson: The performing arts have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as presenters and companies have had to navigate the challenges of creating content and engaging their audiences largely without the in-person component. Companies and platforms that were already predominantly leveraged towards streaming and the production and distribution of digital content have seen increased success during this time.
Organizations that previously relied on live, in-person audience performances-but with higher levels of fiscal resources and the will to innovate-have leaned towards live-streamed concerts or creating a wide-net virtual community with tons of online content. The job market in music is significantly tilted this way now, and large-scale performances with live audiences will be the slowest to return as we transition out of the pandemic. There also has been an emphasis in all genres of music to produce content that speaks directly to this moment of the human story, especially in American history.
Smaller, more nimble independent companies and music producers have emerged and carved places for themselves in the industry. They are setting new trends and forcing the entire performing arts community to develop, examine, and then embrace technological tools. This is a time to grab practical experience and create one's own opportunities; even an entry-level artist management assistant job can teach the ins and outs of contract negotiation, which will be valuable regardless of one's end goal.
These unfolding approaches to content creation, collaboration, curation and distribution, as well as audience engagement, will continually influence available career pathways.
Cailin Manson: This is an incredibly difficult question to answer because there was nothing firm about the job market in music even before the pandemic. The pandemic, while it has shuttered many venues and many of the cultural hubs for live music-major concert halls and theaters in cities and special destinations-are still closed to the public, it has ushered in a wave of content that we won't soon see the end of-and many of those jobs, those companies, could be located anywhere.
Dr. Sarah Riskind: It is always worth contacting professionals who are early in their musical careers, since many mentors from college began their careers in a completely different time. You may have to combine a number of different opportunities to make a living and develop your art, but it can be worth it if you are willing to cope with uncertainty.
Dr. Sarah Riskind: Graduates intending to pursue a career in music should be prepared to create their own opportunities. They should become adept at skills such as fundraising and online marketing if concentrating on the artistic or administrative side, and teaching experience is always helpful whether at public schools or private studio lessons. Many of these skills can be developed through experience, but there are plenty of online courses, YouTube videos, books, and podcasts that can help.
Dr. Sarah Riskind: Arts organizations have suffered enormous financial losses during the pandemic, and the effects are likely to extend considerably into the future. Those interested in academic careers should be aware that the job market will be even more competitive than before the pandemic, which is unlikely to be a surprise.
Fayetteville State University
Department of Performing and Fine Arts
Dr. Quintin Mallette: This depends on the type of employment. For graduates looking for jobs in education at any level, having prior teaching experience outside of the degree program, such as student teaching is helpful.
Also, previous experience with music technology such as notation software, DAWs, and setting up live recording equipment, and the ability to integrate these skills and software's within their teaching will stand out. Lastly, a familiarity working with diverse populations will help any graduate stand out.
For performing/creating jobs resumes are mostly used as prescreening measures.
Any skills that present the graduate as being a good colleague will help them stand out. For example, when reviewing performing resumes questions the committee will want to answer are: Will this person be prepared for this opportunity? Can they play at a high level? Do people enjoy working with them? These can be highlighted on a resume through previous professional performing experience, in whatever style or genre the job is centered in, awards or other special training such as summer festivals or masterclasses, as well as references that can speak to the student's preparation. While it is not directly a part of the resume, many performing and creative opportunities require recordings of one's work. Having a "virtual portfolio," usually a shareable cloud document or website, with links to recent creative work, ongoing projects, and or creative interests can help graduates stand out. In concert with this, having experience with audio and video self-recording and editing are very useful skills.
Dr. Quintin Mallette: For graduates now starting a career in music there are a few trends to be mindful of in the current job market. The expectations for technical knowledge especially with self-recording and live streaming are now expected skills. Additionally, given the halt on many public performances it is important to be comfortable creating content, or intellectual property, outside of existing institutions such as schools, performing ensembles, or arts organizations.
This shift towards music and technology has been happening, but the pandemic has expedited things.
Additionally, issues of diversity and inclusion have also come to the forefront during the pandemic, especially within the concert music industry. Many arts organizations are looking for ways to become more inclusive in their programming and hiring practices. Lastly, given the uncertainty around gigs and live-performances graduates can expect to see an increasingly competitive application pool with an increased expectation for additional "special skills" beyond playing, teaching, composing, etc., such as experience with other music cultures around the world or simply outside of the western "art" canon, experience with music technology, or arts administration/music entrepreneurship.
Dr. Quintin Mallette: Unfortunately, I don't have a very clear answer for this. On one hand, I have found that there are better places than others for finding work, but these places are not static and are dependent on the type of job the graduate is looking for. Metropolitan areas tend to be hotbeds for performing and music creation opportunities, however, they also have greater competition for work. It is probably more important for the graduate to look for markets where they have social capitol and the ability to network with both young and established music professionals. For jobs in music education, networking is also very important. However, unlike performing opportunities, there are a wide variety of teaching opportunities in urban and rural areas with the potential for entrepreneurial opportunities teaching private or group music lessons.
King Britt: We are presented with an unprecedented situation. I think we will see some 'normalcy' by fall 2021 across the globe. Until then, really need to focus on what makes you the most unique out of other musicians and truly shine a light on that aspect. You should also make yourself available for sessions or things that are out of your comfort zone in terms of audience. For example, if you are a classical harpist, your skills are definitely needed by certain composers who may not be creating classical music, but may need that sound for a project.
Think outside of the box when it comes to considering how you can include yourself in the music world.
King Britt: I would definitely think about enhancing your self-recording for audio & visual, so that you have the know-how to do an online performance (solo or safety with your band). The reason I say this is that we have no idea when the venues will be able to accommodate large crowds again for shows. This way, they can stay engaged with their audience as well as be demonstrate some vulnerability by learning publicly and explaining their process.
Also, think about alternative avenues of revenue streams. If you are a musician, possibly create sample packs, online studio sessions, and make yourself available for workshops until things bounce back.
King Britt: Well, what we are seeing now is a major increase in online interaction and community. With the electronic music scene jumping into it, first through Twitch, IGTV, Mixcloud, many performers and producers quickly adapted to this avenue as a way of maintaining an audience and monetizing their work.
Now many platforms are adopting this approach. Bandcamp is doing a beta at the moment for musicians to be able to stream directly on their page, sell tickets to the performance directly to their community within Bandcamp, and set up a merch table. They are at the forefront of making transition lucrative for the artist.
Many live music performers, non electronic and acoustic, have started to adapt for online performance, though it is a bit harder considering the various spaces involved.
Lastly, many venues who may have been on the brink of closing, have adapted their spaces (safely) into TV production studios. Here at UCSD, we have a venue called The Loft. When restrictions went into place, they created a 'TV' recording space where some students could at least create content. I started a TV show showcasing a few undergrads and their talents for IGTV community. More and more venues and studios are doing this.