Music professionals write, arrange, orchestrate, conduct and perform musical compositions based on their area of specialisation. These compositions may be recorded for sale, promotion or for musical backing in a range of venues.

Where music professionals are employed

Musicians are self-employed or are engaged through agents. They may become music or singing teachers and set up their own practice or be appointed to the staff of a primary or secondary school, conservatorium, private music school or university. There are careers with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commercial radio and television stations and the Australian Defence Force, as well as in music librarianship, arts administration, music journalism, music and instrument sales, music and record publishing, music direction and musicological research.

Employment for musicians may be affected by the level of government funding available, particularly for orchestras and opera companies. The level of activity in the hospitality industry may also affect employment opportunities.


Full-time music professionals in South Australia generally earn between $600 and $1,599 per week.

Graph of pay scales for Music Professionals

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 140 people employed full-time as music professionals in South Australia compared with 156 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a musician you usually have to complete formal training in a chosen musical field, although some musicians are self-taught. You may like to consider a vocational education and training qualification in music. Applicants may be required to attend an audition, interview or musicianship/music proficiency theory test.

See courses related to this occupation.

You can become a musician through a traineeship in music. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require year 10. For more information see traineeships.

Ask your career adviser about starting training at school.

Alternatively, you can become a musician by studying music at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and music are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an audition, interview or musicianship/music proficiency theory test. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in music.    

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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