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Career and Education Opportunities for Musicians in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for musicians. There are currently 890 working musicians in Alabama; this should grow 18% to 1,050 working musicians in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for musicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 7.6% over the next eight years. In general, musicians play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

The average wage in the general category of Musical Entertainment jobs is $11 per hour or $30,880 per year in Alabama, and an average of $19 per hour or $40,353 per year nationwide. Incomes for musicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Musical Entertainment in Alabama, and better than the overall Musical Entertainment category nationally. People working as musicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: church musician, concert pianist, and drummer.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a musician. Musicians usually hold some college courses, so you can expect to spend a short time training to become a musician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Musician

Musician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, musicians play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.

Musicians practice musical instrument performances, individually or in rehearsal with other musicians, to master individual pieces of music and to maintain and improve skills. They also perform before live audiences. Equally important, musicians have to play musical instruments as soloists, or as members or guest artists of musical groups such as orchestras or bands. They are often called upon to sight-read musical parts during rehearsals. They are expected to specialize in playing a specific family of instruments and/or a particular type of music. Finally, musicians play from memory or by following scores.

Every day, musicians are expected to be able to note differences between sounds as they change tone and volume. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for musicians to furnish the musical background for live shows such as ballets and cabarets. They are often called upon to transpose music to alternate keys, or to fit individual styles or purposes. They also promote their own or their group's music by participating in media interviews and other efforts. They are sometimes expected to make or participate in recordings in music studios. Somewhat less frequently, musicians are also expected to teach music for specific instruments.

They also have to be able to direct bands or orchestras and play from memory or by following scores. And finally, they sometimes have to perform before live audiences.

Like many other jobs, musicians must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Musician Training

Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has 3 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated four and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Piano and Organ, bachelor's degree.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Miles College - Fairfield, AL

Miles College, 5500 Myron Massey Blvd, Fairfield, AL 35064. Miles College is a small college located in Fairfield, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,773 students. Miles College has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Music Pedagogy, bachelor's degree.

University of Montevallo - Montevallo, AL

University of Montevallo, Station 6001, Montevallo, AL 35115-6000. University of Montevallo is a small university located in Montevallo, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,030 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of Montevallo has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated thirteen and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.