Musician Career Information
What a Musician does
Music has been around since the beginning of time. Since there can be no music without musicians, their place is virtually assured.
Classical music is engraved in Indian culture. So much so that in southern India learning music and dance is a part of the growing up process. This helps in inculcating a sense of appreciation for music at a very early age.
Besides, music has other advantages as well. It soothes the mind. Music is a kind of meditation, of establishing oneself with one's inner core. Other advantages include developing a good memory, opening one's creativity and disciplining the mind. Lastly, it is an excellent exercise for the body.
Musicians are a broad group of artists who play musical instruments, sing, compose, and arrange music in a variety of settings, solo or in groups. There are various forms of music such as Classical, Hindi pop, Western and Instrumental. Classical music can be divided into Hindustani music, karnatic, konkani, Tagore, Kayal, Kawali, etc.
Western music includes forms such as Rock, Jazz, Country, Reggae, Blues and Pop. Instrumentals include people who play any of a wide range of Indian or western instruments such as tabla, violin, sitar, harmonium, veena, mridangam, sarod, drums, persussions, guitar, piano, keyboard, saxophone, trumpet, etc. Musicians perform before live audiences or record in music studios.
Musicians also include artists who sing both classical and western, lend their voice for film songs, sing ad jingles, teach music in schools and colleges, sing at bars and nightclubs, or travel along with a band.
Music is a very demanding field. Most musicians spend a lot of time practicing and rehearsing. "You have to constantly better your best, for you're only as good as your last performance," says Amay a budding tabla player. Musicians also spend a substantial amount of time on the road, traveling to and from performances, or just seeking work.
Composing film music, playback singing and advertisement jingles and performing for the electronic media are some of the other options. One also needs to remember that in every sphere of music, be it playback, classical (vocal or instrumental) or semi-classical or light music, competition is stiff.
Most musicians work at small clubs, churches, weddings, birthdays and bars while waiting for that big break.
It's a tough field, but those in it usually feel an inner compulsion to play and share their music, so much so that they're willing to sacrifice a lot. Some lucky musicians and a few pop artists-make a living at their profession.
Very few become rich and famous - Shankar Mahadevan, Sunita Rao, Zakeer Hussain, Pandit Bhimsen Josi, Anu Mallik and Alka Yagnik are just some examples. But most are happy just to be able to play for an audience once in a while.
There are openings for talented and qualified artistes in radio, television and government departments of culture. Appointments are based on auditions and screen tests, as well as qualifications. There is plenty of scope in private channels.
Opportunities exist in schools and colleges as part-time or full-time teachers. Private music teachers also do quite well. If money is the consideration, playback singing and ad jingles fetch good money.
Established artistes earn very well by giving concerts. Artistes are now being invited for tours to foreign countries. Apart from the experience, there is good money in foreign concert tours.
Some musicians find music-related jobs as songwriters and even music therapists. Musicians with vast technical knowledge may find an opening in the specialised area of instrument repairs and tuning. They may also find jobs as music critics and disc jockeys.
Those who enjoy the business side may become concert managers, music industry executives, and publicists. Some go into the sales and marketing of musical instruments and record store management.
However, lucrative recording deals and a place in the limelight will continue to elude many of even the most gifted artists. As it is often not talent but public relations that guarantee success, talented musicians will have to invent ways of selling themselves and their music to the public.
Musicians able to compose, play several instruments, and arrange will find more employment opportunities open to them.
Music as a career option has some limitations. But for those with talent and the right approach will be able to sustain. With the opening up of the entertainment industry the opportunities for musicians today is definitely looking up.
There is scope for employment with television, radio and the music industry. Numerous TV dance and singing competitions too have provided employment to many. But there is a possibility that you might have to supplement your income by working as part-time teachers in schools, colleges or institutions.
Abilities & Traits Required
The road to becoming an accomplished musician starts at a very early age and involves rigorous study and training. For the singer, training begins when the voice matures. And it never ends. Most other musicians start to play their instruments very early in their lives. Talent, persistence and excellent mentors are the keys to becoming a good musician. Because live audiences and auditions are a fact of life for musicians seeking to establish a reputation or find a niche, they must be able to deal with their anxieties and deliver a quality performance in front of any number of people. Musicians face rejection some time, but the most disciplined maintains confidence in their abilities; they can never allow themselves to become complacent if success is the goal.
Self-discipline is vital to the success of any musician, so practice and rehearsals continue to take up the greater part of the day. Working as part of a team is essential. One should learn to respect accompanists; they are artistes in their own right. One should also learn to accept criticism in the right spirit. Music is an expression of an emotion and there is bound to be more than one reaction to a concert, and not all reactions could be flattering. One should know how to take bouquets and brickbats with equanimity. A friendly and easy personality goes a long way in establishing and maintaining contacts.
" Some musicians enter into private study with a highly reputed 'guruji' under the guru shishya parampara, while other musician pursue a formal training programme at a college or university, gaining a degree in music or music education.
Major universities in India offer a Bachelor's degree after successful completion of the standard 12 or an equivalent, which is five years long. There are facilities available for post graduation too, which is a two-year course.
Almost every state has institutions for professional training in music. Some of the institutions are recognised or are affiliated to recognised bodies such as the Prayag Sangeet Samiti in Allahabad.
The Department of Culture (under the Ministry of Human Resource Department) awards scholarships for advanced training to deserving candidates. Besides, private bodies too aid through scholarships for advanced training in music."
"Money in this field depends on your reputation and standing in the industry. Well-known playback singers get anywhere from Rs 30000 -100000 for a single recording. Ad jingles pay in the range of Rs 25000-30000 for an ad.
Instrument players like the sitar, veena, guitar and tabla get anywhere from Rs 15000-50000 for a concert."