A career in music requires flexibility, creativity and dedication to practice.

Many performing musicians start in a home recording studio or small boutique studio while taking on other roles – acting as a back-up musician for others, writing music, sound engineering or working as a DJ. Technology in the music industry is constantly changing, and social media and streaming services are creating new ways for artists to promote their work and engage with audiences. Promotional and business administration roles are pathways into the field for some, and for those with an advanced degree, teaching can be a great option.  

You can learn more about the field in the Vault Guide to Music Jobs

Gaining experience

To pursue a career in performing, you need to find any available avenues to get your work out to an audience. For business functions within the industry, pay special attention to developing a network of professionals in the field, and seek to gain experience through internships, work and volunteer roles. 

Seeking out alumni who work in an industry of interest to you is a great way to learn about their career journey and get their advice. Conducting industry research to determine your target organizations and then reviewing postings on their websites is the best way to find opportunities for internships or full-time work.

Participate in clubs, organizations and other co-curricular opportunities at Princeton in related areas. This will help you further explore your interests and develop transferrable skills and direct experience in the areas that interest you. 

Hiring process and timeline

Because this field spans multiple types of organizations and roles, there is not a single hiring process or timeline. Many organizations typically hire close to the start date for the position. Identifying organizations of interest and then checking their websites regularly or speaking to alumni who work there will offer insights into their specific recruiting cycles.


Examples of job titles and roles
  • Musician
  • Producer
  • Recording engineer
  • Tour manager
  • Music teacher
  • Booking agent
  • Publicist
  • Composer
  • DJ
  • Music journalist
  • Songwriter
Professional organizations and associations

Professional organizations and associations are membership-based groups comprised of people working in a similar field. They can be helpful resources for students to learn more about a field, develop connections and discover related opportunities. You can search for related organizations and associations using a database provided by the Princeton University Library.

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