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Career and Education Opportunities for Musicians in Chicago, Illinois

Musicians can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 9,060 jobs for musicians in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 11% to about 10,070 jobs 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 $17 per hour or $40,033 per year in Illinois, and an average of $19 per hour or $40,353 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: bugler, violist, and guitarist.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including twenty-four within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a musician. The most common level of education for musicians is some college courses. You can expect to spend a short time studying to be 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 Chicago 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

Northeastern Illinois University - Chicago, IL

Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N Saint Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4699. Northeastern Illinois University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,193 students and an admission rate of 71%. Northeastern Illinois University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a bachelor's degree program in Music.

Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

Trinity Christian College, 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929. Trinity Christian College is a small college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,404 students and an admission rate of 94%. Trinity Christian College has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Trinity International University - Deerfield, IL

Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015-1283. Trinity International University is a small university located in Deerfield, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,654 students and an admission rate of 63%. Trinity International University has a bachelor's degree program in Music.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.

Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. Wheaton College is a small college located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,915 students and an admission rate of 62%. Wheaton College has 3 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Music.

Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL

Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1394. Roosevelt University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,708 students and an admission rate of 43%. Roosevelt University has 6 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate which graduated zero, zero, and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Piano and Organ, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Violin, Viola, Guitar and Other Stringed Instruments, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Music Pedagogy, less than one year and master's degree which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Lake Forest College - Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College, 555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399. Lake Forest College is a small college located in Lake Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,387 students and an admission rate of 59%. Lake Forest College has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Music which graduated one, three, and six students respectively in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a bachelor's degree program in Music.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 6 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated three, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree which graduated one, zero, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Piano and Organ, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree.
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Violin, Viola, Guitar and Other Stringed Instruments, bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree which graduated zero, zero, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and master's degree.

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has an associate's degree program in Music which graduated three students in 2008.

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated ten students in 2008.

Elmhurst College - Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096. Elmhurst College is a small college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,315 students and an admission rate of 69%. Elmhurst College has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies, bachelor's degree.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has a bachelor's degree program in Music which graduated two students in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has a less than one year program in Music which graduated one student in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has an associate's degree program in Music which graduated four students in 2008.

Benedictine University - Lisle, IL

Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd, Lisle, IL 60532-0900. Benedictine University is a medium sized university located in Lisle, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,053 students and an admission rate of 80%. Benedictine University has a bachelor's degree program in Music.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has 3 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate which graduated thirty-one, thirty-four, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated five and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.

University of St Francis - Joliet, IL

University of St Francis, 500 N Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435-6188. University of St Francis is a small university located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,334 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of St Francis has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.