Music Professionals write, arrange, orchestrate, conduct and perform musical compositions.
creating melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structures to express ideas and emotions in musical form
translating ideas and concepts into standard musical signs and symbols for reproduction and performance
undertaking research and liaising with clients when composing musical backing for television commercials, popular recordings, and radio, television and film productions
auditioning and selecting musicians and Singers
selecting music for performances and assigning instrumental parts to musicians
directing musical groups at rehearsals and performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance, rhythm and tempo
studying and rehearsing repertoire and musical scores prior to performances
playing music in recital, as an accompanist, or as a member of an orchestra, band or other musical group, from score and by memory
performing music and songs according to interpretation, direction and style of presentation, using highly developed aural skills to reproduce music
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 27,100 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 33% of people employed as Music Professionals work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 33 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 46 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,799 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,636
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,946
Median hourly earnings are $51, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Music Professionals||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Music Professionals work in the Arts and recreation services industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Music Professionals||All Jobs Average|
Around 73% of Music Professionals live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
New South Wales has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Music Professionals is 40 years. This is the same as the all jobs average.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 29% of the workforce. This is 19 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Music Professionals||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||6.9||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A formal qualification in music and a high level of musicianship is usually needed to work as a Music Professional. University and Vocational Education and Training (VET) are both common study pathways.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Creative Arts and Culture VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Music Professionals||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||14.9||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||7.1||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Music Professionals who have strong interpersonal skills, can communicate well with diverse audiences and work independently.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
52%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
43%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Teaching people how to do something.
41%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Looking for ways to help people.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
32%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
46%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
41%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
37%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
34%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
32%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
31%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
30%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
29%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
28%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
28%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
25%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
22%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Tell the difference between sounds.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Communicate by speaking.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
52%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Keep your hand or arm steady.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
45%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
81%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
72%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
70%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
67%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
67%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
66%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
66%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
64%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
64%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
61%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
61%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
59%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
58%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
55%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
55%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
53%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
50%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
49%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
46%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
97%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
Work with people in a group or team.
91%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
90%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
89%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
86%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
85%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
84%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Work to strict deadlines.
80%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
75%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
Use electronic mail.
Talk with people face-to-face.
65%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
65%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
63%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
62%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
60%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 27-2042.02 - Musicians, Instrumental.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.