Organ and Piano

The organ and piano are traditional musical instruments that take years to master. The following information could be helpful when pursuing this type of career path.

Is a Career Playing the Organ or Piano for Me?

Career Overview

As a specialized musician, organist or pianist, you would perform solo or with others playing an organ or piano. You might play in an ensemble, band or group. If you work in an ensemble or other musical group, you should expect full-time employment. Performing pianists and organists are highly motivated artists, dedicated to long hours of practice.

If you're interested in playing the piano or organ, you should be familiar with different types of music. You should also possess aptitude in music, adaptability, inspiration, self-confidence and acceptable presentation skills. The more skills, expertise and education that you have, the more job prospects may open up.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of musicians and singers was expected to increase five percent from 2012-2022, which is slower than average growth for all occupations (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Become an Organist or Pianist?

Training and Education

On-the-job training is typical amongst those who specialize in musical instruments but you can also get training from a private tutor, conservatory or a university's music school. You can find undergraduate degree programs in music with studies in piano and organs at many universities. You might enroll in a bachelor's degree in music performance with an organ or piano concentration. You could earn Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music or a Bachelor of Music (B.M.). Graduate degree programs such as a Master of Music (M.M.) or Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) are also available. The curriculum's studies might include vision and hearing, musical techniques, performance techniques, music prose and history of music. You'll also learn about songs and choruses and you may need to participate in various recitals and performances. Other program requirements might include going to performances or other musical presentations on a regular basis.

Entrance into a piano or organ program often requires an audition, mandating a minimum level of expertise. Be prepared to exhibit your skills through your tryout: audition requirements might include a solo performance and visual comprehension program. Those auditioning should be prepared to sight-read a piece from a specific era, such as the Baroque era or modern era.

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