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Musicians, Instrumental
SOC Code: 27-2042.02

Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

Sample of reported job titles: Cellist, English Horn Player, Horn Player, Musician, Oboist, Orchestra Musician, Percussionist, Timpanist, Violinist, Violist


  • Practice musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Perform before live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.
  • Specialize in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.
  • Play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.
  • Sight-read musical parts during rehearsals.
  • Play from memory or by following scores.
  • Listen to recordings to master pieces or to maintain and improve skills.
  • Teach music for specific instruments.
  • Provide the musical background for live shows, such as ballets, operas, musical theatre, and cabarets.
  • Audition for orchestras, bands, or other musical groups.
  • Make or participate in recordings in music studios.
  • Promote their own or their group's music by participating in media interviews and other activities.
  • Transpose music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes.
  • Direct bands or orchestras.
  • Arrange and edit music to fit style and purpose.
  • Improvise music during performances.

Technology Skills

  • Accounting software - Financial tracking software
  • Calendar and scheduling software - Appointment scheduling software
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Instant messaging software - Snapchat; Twitter
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Music or sound editing software - Apple GarageBand; Avid Technology Pro Tools; Avid Technology Sibelius; iZotope Ozone (see all 5 examples)
  • Video creation and editing software - YouTube
  • Web page creation and editing software - Blogging software; Facebook ; Instagram
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Accessories for stringed instruments - Capos; String cutters; String winders; Stringed instrument bows
  • Accordions
  • Alto horns
  • Audio amplifier - Amplifiers
  • Bagpipes
  • Banjoes
  • Baritone horns
  • Basses - Double basses
  • Bassoon - Bassoons
  • Bells - Handbells
  • Bongoes - Bongo drums
  • Bugles
  • Clarinets - Bb clarinets
  • Clavichords
  • Cymbals - Orchestral cymbals
  • Drum stick - Drum mallets; Wooden drum sticks
  • Drums - Kettle drums
  • Electronic instrument tuner - Digital tuners
  • English horns
  • Euphonium - Euphoniums
  • French horns
  • Guitars - Acoustic guitars
  • Harps
  • Harpsichords
  • Instrument strings or picks - Finger picks
  • Mandolins
  • Maracas
  • Marching bells
  • Marimbas
  • Mellophones
  • Metronomes - Electronic metronomes
  • Microphones - Clip-on microphones
  • Musical cornets
  • Musical flutes
  • Musical instrument stand - Cymbal stands; Guitar stands
  • Musical instrument stands or sheet holders - Sheet music stands
  • Musical organs
  • Mutes - Instrument mutes
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Oboes
  • Personal computers
  • Pianos
  • Piccoloes - Piccolos
  • Saxophones - Alto saxophones
  • Sousaphones
  • Synthesizer - Synthesizers
  • Tablet computers
  • Timpanies - Timpani
  • Trombones
  • Trumpets
  • Tuba - Tubas
  • Tuning forks - Instrument tuning forks
  • Vibraphones
  • Viola - Violas
  • Violins
  • Violoncellos - Cellos
  • Xylophones
  • Zither - Autoharps; Dulcimers


  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.


  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.


  • Interest code: AE
    • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
    • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Context

  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 88% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Level of Competition - 84% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 82% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 78% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Contact With Others - 65% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 75% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 56% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 60% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 57% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure - 51% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 37% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 34% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 35% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 26% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 28% responded “Minor results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 28% responded “Never.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 32% responded “Limited freedom.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
38%Bachelor's degree
21%Master's degree
13%High school diploma or equivalent

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $26.96 hourly
  • Employment (2016)
    • 172,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 17,800

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