Music Professor Job Description, Education, Training Requirements, Career, Salary, Employment

Job Description: Music professors teach their instrument of expertise (including voice) in college music programs across the country, including music conservatories, colleges and universities. Many music professors have had professional performing careers. Some adjunct while performing or they become full time professors and sometimes continue performing while teaching.

Training and Educational Qualifications: Four year colleges and universities usually consider PhDs for full-time, tenure track positions, but they may hire master’s degree holders or doctoral candidates for certain disciplines, such as the arts, or for part time and temporary jobs.

In 2 year colleges, master’s degree holders fill most full time positions. However, in certain fields where there may be more applicants than available jobs, master’s degree holders may be passed over in favor of candidates holding PhDs.

It is common for music professors to hold a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) rather than a PhD, which is a doctorate in music performance, although there are PhDs in fields like music theory or music education, among others.

Job Outlook: Overall, employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. A significant proportion of these new jobs will be part-time positions. Job opportunities are generally expected to be very good although they will vary somewhat from field to field as numerous openings for all types of postsecondary teachers result from retirements of current postsecondary teachers and continued increases in student enrollments.

Salary: Earnings for college faculty vary according to rank and type of institution, geo-

graphic area and field. According to a 2006-07 survey by the American Association of University Professors, salaries for full-time faculty averaged $73,207. By rank, the average was $98,974 for professors, $69,911 for associate professors, $58,662 for assistant professors, $42,609 for instructors, and $48,289 for lecturers.

Significant Facts:

•    Opportunities for postsecondary teaching jobs are expected to be good, but many new openings will be for part-time or nontenure track positions.

•    Prospects for teaching jobs will be better and earnings higher in academic fields in which many qualified teachers opt for nonacademic careers.

•    Educational qualifications for postsecondary teacher jobs range from expertise in a particular field to a doctorate, depending on the subject being taught and the type of educational institution.

Did you have an internship in this field prior to starting your job?

I was a teaching assistant at Juilliard.

Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?

Composers can theoretically live anywhere although major cities make contacts easier.

What is your typical day like?

My days vary. I’ve been at Curtis since 1999 and I teach in the musical studies department; I teach courses such as harmony, keyboard harmony and supplementary composition. Once a week, on Saturdays, I go to New York and teach in the pre-college program at Julliard. Some days I teach, sometimes I spend all day composing, and other days I have guitar performances.

What are your job responsibilities?

Writing music, teaching classroom material, guitar performance.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Creating new music.

What do you dislike about your job?

Too many teaching hours.

Have you had any turning-point or “light bulb” moments in your career that have helped you get to where you are today?

Acceptance to study at The Curtis Institute of Music with composer Ned Rorem.

How did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

Music is what I felt most passionate about in life and so I had to pursue it as a career.

How did you get into this industry?

Commissions come from personal contacts and word of mouth. I realized as a graduate student that I enjoyed teaching and that is why I pursued my doctorate in music. Teaching positions came from alumni contacts.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

The premiere of my organ concerto at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall in February 2007.

If you weren’t doing this job, what similar careers might you consider?

Rock guitarist.

To what professional associations do you belong?

American Composers Forum, American Music Center, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), College Music Society, and Philadelphia Musical Fund Society.

What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?

Find what you love and do it.


Music Education

Education Early Childhood Music Educator $6-$60/hour

School Music Educator $19,000-$70,000/year

Music Supervisor, Consultant $25,000-$70,000/year

Music Professor $18,000-$150,000/year

University Music School Administrator $26,000-$182,000/year

Studio Teacher $10-$100/hour

Instrumental Performance

Performance Armed Forces Musician $2 l,000-$77,000/year

Orchestra Musician $300/week-$70,000/year

Small Ensemble Musician (salary varies widely)

Concert Soloist (salary varies widely)

Dance, Rock, or Jazz Band Musician $150 $3 55/ performance

Clinician $300-$5,000/ clinic

Vocal Performance

Dance Band or Nightclub Vocalist $150-$355/performance

Concert or Opera Chorus Member $12+/rehearsal;

$ 100+/performance

Concert Soloist $450+/performance

Opera Soloist $l,100+/performance


Choir, Orchestra, or Opera Conductor $15,000-$275,000/year Composing School Music Composer (Commissions vary) Art Music Composer (Commissions vary) Commercial Jingle Composer $300-$50,000/commercial Television Show Composer $l,000-$5,000/30-minute episode Film Score Composer $2,000-$200,000/fllm

Music for Worship

Organist $9,000-$57,000/year Choir Director $5,200-$70,000/year Cantor/Hazan$75,000-$150,000/year

Music Business

Music Dealer Sales Person $13,000-$50,000/year Music Dealer Manager $17,000-$56,000/year Marketing/Advertising Specialist $28,000-$l 16,000/year Music, Instrument, and/or Accessories Distributor $19,000-$75,000/year

Instrument Making and Repair

Instrument Maker $15,000-$65,000/year Instrument Repair Technician $9-$55/hour Piano Tuner $15-$60/hour

Music Publishing

Publishing Sales Representative $20,000-$50,000 Copyright/Licensing Administrator $20,000-$60,000 Music Editor $20,000-$60,000 Notesetter $15,000-$50,000

Music Communications

Publisher or Editor of Music Books or Periodicals

$24,000-$ 100,000/year

Music Reporter $20,000-$150,000/year

Public Relations Specialist $21,000-$ 141,000/year

The Recording Industry

Producer, Engineer/Mixer (NA) Artist and Repertoire (A&R) Person (NA) Studio Arranger (NA) Music Copyist (NA)

The Television and Radio Industry

Radio/Television Commercial Musician $227 $1,650/13-week cycle

Copyright/Clearance Administrator (NA)

Music License Administrator (NA)

Program Director (radio) (NA)

Post Production/Scoring (NA)

Music Adviser/Researcher (NA)

Disc/Video Jockey (NA)

Music Technology Multimedia Publisher (NA)

Sound and Video Editor (NA)

Technology-based Music Instruction Designer (NA)

Music Librarianship

College, University, Conservatory, Public Library, or Orchestra Librarian $18,000-$45,000/year

Music Therapy

Hospitals, Psychiatric Facility $20,000-$62,000/year Special Education Facility $22,000-$42,000/year Clinic for Disabled Children $15,000-$70,000/year Mental Health Center $21,000-$65,000/year Nursing Home $17,000-$65,000/year Correctional Facility $23,000-$58,000/year Private Practice $18,000-$77,000/year

Performing Arts Medicine

Performing Arts Medicine (MD, Physical Therapist) $50,000-$ 100,000/year