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Career and Education Opportunities for Musicians in Madison, Wisconsin

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for musicians in the Madison, Wisconsin area. There are currently 5,090 working musicians in Wisconsin; this should grow 8% to about 5,500 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. Musicians generally 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 $19 per hour or $43,696 per year in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin, and better than the overall Musical Entertainment category nationally. Musicians work in a variety of jobs, including: cellist, horn player, and percussionist.

The Madison area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Madison 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.


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 Madison 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.
  • 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.


Madison Media Institute - Madison, WI

Madison Media Institute, 2702 Agriculture Drive, Madison, WI 53718. Madison Media Institute is a small school located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 385 students. Madison Media Institute has an associate's degree program in Music, Other Specialties which graduated 110 students in 2008.

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has 2 areas of study related to Musician. They are:

  • Music, bachelor's degree and doctor's degree which graduated four and twelve students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated twelve, nineteen, and seven students respectively in 2008.


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.


Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.