What Does an Instrumental Musician Do?

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

Typically, Instrumental Musicians perform these tasks every day:

    Play from memory or by following scores.

    Specialize in playing a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music.

    Practice musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music or to maintain and improve skills.

    Play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras, ensembles, or bands.

Most days, Instrumental Musicians perform these tasks:

    Listen to recordings to master pieces or to maintain and improve skills.

    Perform before live audiences in concerts, recitals, educational presentations, and other social gatherings.

    Teach music for specific instruments.

    Sight-read musical parts during rehearsals.

    Arrange and edit music to fit style and purpose.

    Improvise music during performances.

    Direct bands or orchestras.

    Transpose music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes.

Other tasks that Instrumental Musicians perform include:

    Compose original music, such as popular songs, symphonies, or sonatas.

    Make or participate in recordings in music studios.

    Promote their own or their group's music by participating in media interviews and other activities.

    Provide the musical background for live shows, such as ballets, operas, musical theatre, and cabarets.

    Audition for orchestras, bands, or other musical groups.

Other Questions about Instrumental Musicians

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How Much Experience is Needed to Become an Instrumental Musician?

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 37.83% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 21.32% said they needed a Master's Degree.

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What Tools and Technologies Are Instrumental Musicians Using to Do Their Job?


Wooden drum sticks





Apple GarageBand

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What Skills Should an Instrumental Musician Have?

We are still building our database of relevant skills for this occupation. Please check back eventually!

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What Subjects Should I Study to Become an Instrumental Musician?
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