A piano player, also known as a pianist, you will actually be opening yourself to varied career opportunities that will require you to play this musical instrument. You could work as a classical pianist and if you’re really good, get paid top dollars doing what you love: Playing the works of Beethoven, Bach and Mozart in well-known music halls around the country and getting the applause of appreciative classical music lovers with each performance.
If classical music isn’t your cup of tea, you could also work for a major record label accompanying singers who are recording their albums. You could find yourself playing the piano for pop, rock ‘n’ roll and other music genres for singers recording their songs in a studio. Since these gigs are typically sponsored by major record labels, a career as a studio pianist is a lucrative position. The downside is that you’ll be constantly looking for work since accompanying a singer for his or her album recording sessions is a job done on a per project basis.
If you happen to love teaching and want to share your knowledge about music and piano playing to people who are interested to learn about this instrument, you can also work as a piano teacher. Some piano players combine performance gigs with teaching piano to students while those who have already established their reputation as excellent piano teachers may focus solely on teaching and make a good living out of it.
To succeed as a piano player, you need to have a true passion for playing the instrument. That means you’re willing to devote time and attention to the craft and are keenly interested in learning the more complicated ways of producing music from its black and white keys. Passion must also be accompanied by discipline since it is only through constant practice that you will be able to improve your style and technique. This is also a very competitive field where jobs are given only to those who pass stringent auditions. Thus, you need to be dedicated to finding a job even if you get constantly rejected in some of your auditions.
Why Become A Piano Player
A career as a piano player is for those who are really dedicated to this musical instrument. This is the profession for individuals who truly love music and find enjoyment in performing in front of an audience. While those who are already renown in this field may earn lucratively, the vast majority of piano players continue to stay in the profession even if they are grossly underpaid because of the satisfaction they can from it.
Piano Player Work Environment
Piano players and other musicians work in concert halls, studios and clubs. Many are employed by religious organizations and as such, they provide accompaniment to music during worship services in churches and chapels. There are also those who are hired by performing arts firms and schools. An estimated 36 percent of musicians and singers are self-employed, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since most piano players and other musicians only find part-time work opportunities, many get themselves a regular fulltime job so they can pay the bills.
Piano Player Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have the salary information specifically for piano players. However, the agency does have salary data for musicians and singers. Since part-time work is the norm among musicians, the agency has the mean hourly wage data for this occupation and not the mean annual wage information. Musicians, singers and related workers earn $29.92 an hour on the average.
Piano Player Career Outlook
The job outlook of musicians and singers, piano players included, is set to grow five percent in the period covering 2012 to 2022. This rate is slower than the national average for all job types. While there will continue to be demand for musicians in the pop music industry, there will be limited employment in orchestras, opera companies and other groups—places where piano players are needed— because of funding difficulties.
Piano Player Degree
Strictly speaking, there are no degree requirements for piano players save for their ability to play the instrument very well. However, piano players who wish to play classical music typically hold bachelor’s degrees in music with a major in piano.