Careers

Conductor and repetiteur

Typical careers for graduates of these programmes are at the more than 130 publically funded symphony orchestras with their numerous positions as director of music (Kapellmeister/Generalmusikdirektor). In addition to privately-run orchestras and ensembles for early and contemporary music, there are also 30,000 non-professional instrumental ensembles and 50,000 non-professional choirs across Germany which seek qualified directors. Some young conductors even prefer founding their own orchestra. There are numerous positions as repetiteur at Germany’s more than 80 publically funded opera houses and at the many freelance music theatre groups. In addition to concert performances, master classes, workshops, and festivals are other freelance activities. Teaching offers another wide spectrum of jobs: as a freelance music teacher, teacher at one of the country’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or as a tutor at one of Germany’s 24 music academies.

Instrumental Teacher

Certified music/instrumental pedagogues will find job opportunities at one of Germany’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or as tutors at one of the country’s 24 music academies. The field for music mediators and concert pedagogues is also ever-growing: roughly 30 national and regional music mediation projects as well as the numerous music-pedagogical events hosted by orchestras need qualified personnel to organise and run these activities. Graduates are also sought after as freelance musicians at concerts and master classes, workshops, and festivals, or as adjudicators for competitions. Freelance teaching opportunities are also available.

Jazz Musician

Many bands and ensembles already form during the students’ time at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar, and students often continue to perform together after completing their degrees: many Jazz graduates are freelance members of numerous combos, ensembles, and big bands, and also perform as soloists. This field in particular makes the acquisition of management skills crucial if one wants one’s voice to be heard among the large number of jazz musicians and in order to position oneself as best as possible for the successful bands and combos. Not only management skills are needed to found and run one’s own band or be successful as a soloist, but also the ability to design attractive, promising concepts and programmes. Freelance jazz musicians are also sought after at concerts, courses, workshops, and festivals. Teaching offers another broad career field: as a freelance music teacher, a teacher at one of Germany’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or a tutor at one of the country’s 24 music academies.

Church Musician

The typical career for studied church musicians is that of a cantor or organist. The training in choir and orchestra direction also allows graduates to work in these fields. Further diverse opportunities are to be found in teaching careers: a freelance music teacher, a teacher at one of Germany’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or a tutor at one of the country’s 24 music academies.

Composer

Most often, composers have freelance careers dependant on commissions from orchestras, opera houses, and festivals. Further potential employers are radio stations, television producers, and advertising companies. Another important source of income is the GEMA (and other legal rights organisations) which ensures that royalties are paid to composers for the performance of their works. This income is complemented by contracts with publishing houses for the printing of compositions. Composer-in-residence programmes run by various organisations provide another opportunity, as do the roughly 200 ensembles for contemporary music which engage in close collaboration with composers. Teaching is also a field of many careers: as a freelance music teacher in composition or one’s main performance subject, or as a teacher at one of over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools. Germany’s 24 music academies offer not only positions for composers, but also jobs in music theory and aural training for which composers are particularly well-qualified.

Arts Manager

Graduates can take up careers in one of the following fields (and many others):
  • As teaching/research staff at universities and music academies, or in the institutions’ administration
  • As managers or producers in the record industry
  • As representatives and agents for artists
  • As organisers of cultural events and managers of cultural institutions in public administration
  • As project manager for privately funded institutions, cultural organisations, and festivals
  • As dramaturges, producers, managers, or press officers at theatres, opera houses, orchestras, choirs, and ensembles
  • As directors, curators, and external experts in cultural foundations or the culture industry

Musicologist

Graduates can take up careers in one of the following fields (and many others):
  • As teaching/research staff at universities and music academies, or in the institutions’ administration
  • As dramaturges, producers, managers, or press officers at theatres, opera houses, orchestras, choirs, and ensembles
  • As librarians or archivists
  • In (music) publishing or institutions with similar editorial tasks
  • As critics/journalists for newspapers, television and radio stations, or in freelance positions
  • As director/manager of music schools such as the Yamaha music schools
  • As directors, curators, and external experts in cultural foundations or the culture industry
  • As organisers of cultural events and managers of cultural institutions in public administration
  • As representatives and agents for artists
  • As managers or producers in the record industry

Orchestra Musician

For students of all orchestra instruments (strings, wind/brass, percussion, harp), careers as orchestra musician are the most obvious. Instrumentalists can apply for positions at the over 130 publically financed symphony and opera orchestras. In over 10,000 events every year, these ensembles perform symphony concerts and operas, but also chamber music concerts, children’s concerts, and school workshops. In addition to these publically funded ensembles, numerous private orchestras and chamber music groups offer engagements.

Singer

There are more than 4,000 regular posts for soloists and choir members at Germany’s over 80 publically funded music theatres. In over 12,000 performances each year, these institutions continue to attract ever larger audiences. Qualified singers can also find careers with private theatres and ensembles. Those not seeking work as opera singers can also work with one of the numerous professional choirs, or as a singer of Lied and oratorio repertoires. Freelance singers are not only sought after for concerts, but also at master classes, workshops, and festivals, or as adjudicators at competitions. Teaching offers another broad career field: as a freelance music teacher, a teacher at one of Germany’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or a tutor at one of the country’s 24 music academies.

School Teacher

Music teachers normally seek employment as teachers at comprehensive or grammar schools. Combining music with a second subject in the so called two-subject programme opens up further career opportunities. Of course, school teachers may also wish to work at one of Germany’s over 1,000 publically and privately funded music schools, or at one of the country’s 24 music academies. Their diverse musical training also qualifies them for freelance careers as musicians, ensemble members, choir directors, etc.

Soloist / Freelance musician

Any orchestra musician, accordion or guitar player, or pianist can also seek a freelance career. As such, performances with orchestras, chamber music ensembles, or as Lied accompanist are regular activities. Freelance careers can also encompass chamber music activities and instrumental teaching. Freelance musicians are not only sought after for concerts, but also at master classes, workshops, and festivals, or as adjudicators at competitions and private music teachers. Germany’s 80 chamber music groups and 200 ensembles for contemporary music offer further opportunities for engagements. Some graduates prefer founding their own ensemble: this requires management skills as well as the ability/inspiration to design attractive and sustainable concepts and programmes.