Careers in Music


Finding lucrative and satisfying employment in the field of music has almost always been a challenge, and
the difficulties are increasing as government funding for the arts and education is reduced and corporate and personal
resources are stretched ever further. This is not an invitation for music students to give up on their chosen careers,
however, but rather to use every resource available to them in the pursuit of viable options for use of their talents and
hard-won skills. The resources of the Sibley Library’s reference collection are often overlooked by students. The
following annotated bibliography is not exhaustive, but is intended to highlight some of the more useful recent
sources on this topic.
Having current information is of vital importance for sources on this topic; directories are especially prone
to going out of date quickly as organizations and people enter and leave the music scene, or move around and get
new phone numbers. For this reason, I have tried to focus on the most recent tools available where possible.
Fortunately, many of these sources update themselves by coming out in new editions on a frequent, or even regular
basis. Nevertheless, searchers in this area are cautioned to verify information by checking recent directories, or even
making an inquiring phone call, before plunging in to something based on old information.
This bibliography was deliberately restricted to recent Reference sources. Further information might be
found by browsing the following classifications in the regular stacks: ML3790-3795 (Music Industry and Music
Profession), ML12-21 (Directories), ML25-28 (Music Societies), and ML76 (Prizes and competitions). You might
also try searching subject headings such as MUSIC–COMPETITIONS, MUSICIANS–EMPLOYMENT, MUSIC
TRADE and MUSIC ECONOMIC ASPECTS in Sibley’s online catalog. Using Music Index to search for recent
periodical articles could also be useful. Try the subject headings: CAREERS IN MUSIC, JOB APPLICATION,
also want to keep up with your own area of the profession by reading the appropriate periodicals in your field on a
regular basis.


I. Music Business: General Sources.

Baskerville, David. Music Business Handbook & Career Guide. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1995. (Ref. ML3795
.B315 1995)
Covers a broad spectrum of topics, but primary emphasis is on business aspects such as publishing,
copyright, the recording industry, broadcasting and film. Appendices provide copies of application forms
and agreements for ASCAP and BMI, US copyright forms, bibliography, and list of professional
organizations, the latter unfortunately without addresses!

Shemel, Sidney, and M. William Krasilovsky. This Business of Music. Rev. and enl. 7th ed. New York: Billboard,
1995. (Ref. ML3790.S545 T4 1995)
Focuses more narrowly on music business concerns than does Baskerville. Major sections on:
“Recording Companies and Artists,” “Music Publishers and Writers”, “General Music Industry Aspects”.
Extensive appendices include excerpts from copyright laws, ASCAP and BMI forms (more than Baskerville
has), and bibliographies. Also includes copies of over 20 music industry forms, including contracts,
copyright agreements, etc. Expanded by the authors’ More About This Business of Music (Ref
ML3790.K89 M83 1994) to include more on “serious music” and other aspects of the music industry.

II. Career Planning.

Field, Shelly. Career Opportunities in the Music Industry. 3rd ed. New York: Facts on File, 1995. (Ref.
ML3795.F456 C271 1995)
Provides profiles of many different music-related careers, including basic descriptions, salary
ranges, employment prospects, training required, and tips for entry. Some entries seem simplistic and a
little naive, and salary information seems very out of date, even for 1990. Appendices may be the most
useful part: lists of educational programs, unions and associations, record companies, booking agencies,
music publishers, rights societies, and publicity firms.

Highstein, Ellen. Making Music in Looking Glass Land: A Guide to Survival and Business Skills for the Classical
Performer. 2nd ed. New York: Concert Artists Guild, 1993. (Ref. ML3795 .H638 1993)
Emphasis on how to make a living as a classical performer; the second edition has added a chapter
for composers. Author is Executive Director of the Concert Artists Guild; this book grew out of career
workshops provided by the Guild. Lots of practical information about how to market your skills,
assembling credentials, networking with the right people, finding a manager, etc. Includes annotated list of
general resources.

Music Career Resource Guide. Rochester, NY: Office of Career Planning and Placement, Eastman School of Music,
1993. (Ref. ML3795.M98645 1993)
Primarily a bibliography of useful sources in many related areas, such as music career options,
summer job information, the job search, aspects of the music business, and study abroad. Everyone should
read the job search check list at the beginning, and, of course, visit the Career Planning and Placement

Uscher, Nancy. Your Own Way in Music: A Career and Resource Guide. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. (Ref.
ML3790.U84 Y81 1990)
The author, an Eastman graduate, takes a creative approach to careers in music. The introductory
chapters discuss various career resources, orchestral auditions, and planning and publicity for solo and
chamber performances. The section “Support for the Musician” describes various funding sources such as
foundations, corporations, and the government, as well as organizations that serve artists in various ways.
Discussions of various music-related careers include profiles of individuals in those careers, and the paths
they followed to get there. The appendices serve as a resource guide for educational institutions, funding
sources, performance aids, assorted careers, government and the arts, and international opportunities.

III. Funding.

The Grants Register, 1995-1997. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. (Ref. LB2338.G764 1995-97)
New edition every other year. “Aims to provide full, current information on awards for nationals
of the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, South
Africa and the developing countries.” (p. vii) Covers grants in all subject areas; use the Subject Index,
which is near the front!

IV. Directories.

Cummings, David M., ed. International Who’s Who in Music and Musician’s Directory. 15th ed., 1996/7.
Cambridge, England: International Who’s Who, 1996-97. (Quick Ref.)
New edition every other year. This is known chiefly as a biographical source, but the appendices
provide very useful lists of orchestras, opera companies, festivals, music organizations, competitions and
awards, music libraries, and conservatories, not to mention the list of Masters of the King’s/Queen’s Music,
reminding us that though international in coverage, this is still a British source!

Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts. 1996 ed. New York: K-III Directory Corp., 1997.
(Ref. ML12 .M986D 1997)
New edition annually. The most extensive source of its type in music. Provides addresses and
phone numbers for managers, orchestras, opera companies, festivals, music schools, record companies,
publishers, and many other services. Separate lists for US & Canada, and International. Lots of
advertising. Use this source to update information found elsewhere!

Uscher, Nancy. The Schirmer Guide to Schools of Music and Conservatories Throughout the World. New York:
Schirmer Books, 1988. (Quick Ref.)
Entries for schools organized geographically; include basic description of institution, enrollment
and faculty statistics, requirements, programs, and facilities. Several useful indexes.

V. Competitions and Performing Opportunities.

Concert Artists Guild’s Guide to Competitions. 9th ed. New York: Concert Artists Guild, 1996. (Ref ML76.C744
Directory of competitions, including basic information such as addresses and phone numbers,
categories, prizes, age limits, dates, and application deadlines. Use the index to find specific categories of

A Directory of Summer Chamber Music Workshops, Schools & Festivals. New York: Chamber Music America,
1994. (Ref. ML13 .D599 1994)
Lots of listings for programs in the US. The International section is much smaller. Profiles of
programs are clear and easy to read; provide basic description, contact information, dates, fees, housing
information, etc.

World Federation of International Music Competitions. Geneva: Fédération Mondiale, 1996. (Ref. ML26.F2937
This source is a little confusing at first. Some of the introductory information is in both French
and English, while the entries for the various competitions are in one language or the other. The entries are
organized alphabetically by the city of the competition, and look like advertisements. In back are lists of
recent competition winners.

VI. Orchestras.

Craven, Robert R., ed. Symphony Orchestras of the United States: Selected Profiles. New York: Greenwood Press,
1986. (Ref. ML1211.S989 1986)

________. Symphony Orchestras of the World: Selected Profiles. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987. (Ref.
ML1200 .S989 1987)

These were designed as companion volumes, and are very similar in approach. Profiles for
individual orchestras are arranged geographically; each includes a lengthy prose description of the history
of the orchestra, its current season and audience base, and the community it which it resides. Also included
are a chronology of music directors, bibliography, and access information.

VII. Career Information for Singers.

Cowden, Robert H., ed. Opera Companies of the World: Selected Profiles. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. (Ref
ML12.O615 1992)
Very similar to the orchestra books described above. Opera company profiles are arranged
geographically. Each includes a lengthy description of the history and current situation of the company,
followed by a short bibliography, and access information.

McDonald, Mary M., ed. Career Guide for Singers. [New York]: Opera America, 1992. (Ref ML13.C271 1992)
Comprehensive directory of programs for “emerging operatic artists.” (p. [iii]) Includes listings for
opera companies, institutes and workshops for advanced training, educational institutions with major opera
workshops, competitions and grants, and internship opportunities.

Owens, Richard. The Professional Singer’s Guide to New York. Dallas: American Institute of Musical Studies, 1984.
(Ref ML15.N5 O7 1984)
Includes sections on living and studying in New York, auditioning, and working as a singer.
Extensive appendices provide names and addresses for all kinds of services, but unfortunately this
information is now very old and would need to be verified in other sources. The general advice is probably
the greatest value of this source at this point.

VII. Resumes.

Borden, Robert, and Kathy Ivey. The Musician’s Resume Handbook. Rochester, NY: Office of Career Planning and
Placement, Eastman School of Music, [199-?] Ref. ML3795.B728 M98 1990z.
Most published books on the subject of resumes tend to be aimed at people seeking jobs in the
business world. The needs for musicians are very different, and this source provides lots of practical advice
and examples for musicians seeking employment in performance, teaching, arts management, and

Compiled by Laura M. Snyder, 12/95. Revised 7/97