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The field of music is a huge part of the entertainment industry and employs many different types of performers, technicians and support staff. While popular singers and band members have some of the most visible music careers, there are many ways to work behind the scenes. All of these jobs are necessary in order for music to be made and reach its intended audience.
Many people come to the field of music with hopes of one day becoming a singer. Singers may perform alone or as a member of a band. Classically-trained singers develop precise control of their voices and learn to interpret the music they perform in a creative, sophisticated way. Singers who focus on popular music generally cultivate an image that helps them connect with an audience and a certain musical style.
Instrumentalists perform in a variety of settings. Instrumentalists may back up a singer in live performances or studio recording sessions, or perform as part of an orchestra. These performers master one or more instruments and must practice frequently.
As the name implies, songwriters write songs. While many singers write some of their own music, songwriters produce the majority of pop songs as well as producing and arranging more traditional compositions. Songwriters also frequently produce the music used in musical films and live theater.
Composers write music that contains no lyrics, or collaborate with a lyricist to produce a finished song. They must understand the various instruments and musical styles and blend them together into a finished work that can then be passed on to the actual performers. Many composers are serious students of music history.
Music critics may not perform themselves (although some do) but they must understand many different types of music and be able to discuss music in a way the general public can understand. In a sense music critics serve as an intermediary between the musician and the audience.
Conductors work with live performers in a concert or theatrical setting. They must learn about the music they are overseeing and also come to know the particular strengths and weaknesses of their orchestra or band. Conductors are like managers of sports teams in that they must get the most out of the talented performers they work with.
From rock bands to symphonic orchestras, most musicians record their music at some point. This would be impossible without the services of a recording technician. These are craftspeople who manage the high-tech recording devices and computer programs to replicate the sound produced in the studio and transfer it to a recording medium, like a CD.
Producers work with performers and recording technicians to oversee the production of a song or album. They make decisions about which songs should be included on an album and how they should sound. It is important for a band to have a good relationship with their producer, since they will have such an influence on how the band's music sounds in the end.
Publicists, like critics, provide an essential service without actually performing or creating music themselves. At varying levels publicists book live gigs, promote concerts, arrange interviews and television appearances and generally spread the word about a performer or event.
Music therapists use music to aid individuals in overcoming a variety of developmental and emotional problems. Music therapists are employed as counselors and consultants by hospitals and other treatment facilities.