• Ecological Perspectives to Career in Music

    in Music Business

    career in music

    Playing any instrument early in life is beautiful.

    Beyond setting you apart from other kids like it did our founder, it can also be financially rewarding into adulthood, to say the least.

    So many of the world’s greatest musicians started with one instrument or another early in life, but after playing for a while, discovered their “area of specialization” in music, developed it, and stood out with it.

    In this post, I’ll show you several areas of specialization in music, believing that you’ll find yours, stick to it, and impact your world with it.

    Attention: Owing to the fact that ecology best captures what I want to share, permit me to use words from this field of study at certain junctures.

    Ecology of Living Things

    We’re learning from nature in today’s post.

    “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.” Albert Einstein

    “Whenever I have found myself stuck in the ways I relate to things, I return to nature. It is my principal teacher, and I try to open my whole being to what it has to say.” Wynn Bullock

    “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” William Wordsworth

    Ecology is the study of living things and their relationship to the living and non-living things in the environment.

    In the world of living organisms, there are over 359,297 known plant species and 1,371,428 animal species. If you do the math, that’s 1,730,725 living things.

    Have you ever paused to ponder on how every one of them survives? The basic needs include sunlight, water, air, food, and most importantly, home (aka – “habitat”).

    Heck, there are certain parts of the environment (aka “ecosystem”) where plants compete for sunlight, where animals compete for habitat, food, etc., yet every one of them survives.

    The science that unravels the mystery of how various living things survive in the environment (aka “ecosystem”) is ecology.

    In ecology, the term habitat refers to the home of living things. Before the need for food, water, etc., all living things need habitats.

    There are two main habitats…

    Aquatic: Water bodies like seas, oceans, rivers, lakes etc., are aquatic habitats. Fish, Crabs etc., live in aquatic habitats.

    Terrestrial: The land, deserts, grasslands, forests etc., are terrestrial habitats.

    Several animals may live in the same habitat. However, in that habitat, each one has its niche. A niche is simply the function of a living thing (whether plant or animal) by virtue of its position in the ecosystem, whether as a producer and/or consumer.

    Here’s a practical illustration…

    The grasshopper and the bee are all insects right? Right! Both of them are terrestrial animals. However, they don’t have the same niche. While the bee is busy pollinating flowers, the grasshopper’s niche is in the fields, where it plays its role as a consumer.

    The relationship between various niches and habitats makes the ecosystem self-sufficient.

    The plant (a producer) uses solar energy to create what the grasshopper feeds on. The lizard in turn feeds on the grasshopper. It keeps going that way, from one living thing to another until it gets to the final consumer. When this consumer dies and decays, energy returns to the world of non-living things.

    If music is an ecosystem, what’s your habitat and niche?

    Why can’t you find fish in the fields? This is because they live in aquatic habitats. Heck, there are even species of fish that you can’t find on the surface of the sea.

    This is because their niche is some feet below the surface.

    “What Does This Have To Do With Music?”

    Music is an ecosystem.

    There are various habitats and niches in the music ecosystem, which are known to us as careers. Check them out below:




    Arranger, producer, orchestrator, composer, film scorer/composer, jingle writer, songwriter, transcriber, copyist, conductor

    Contemporary Writing and Production

    Arranger, producer, orchestrator, composer, film scorer/composer, jingle writer, songwriter, transcriber, copyist, conductor

    Electronic Production and Design

    MIDI technician, programmer, performing synthesist, music sequencer, sound designer

    Film Scoring

    Film composer, music editor, music supervisor/director, film arranger/adapter, film conductor, film music orchestrator, synthesis specialist, theme specialist

    Jazz Composition

    Jazz composer, jingle writer, film scorer/composer, arranger (adaptor), songwriter, orchestrator, conductor, copyist, educator/teacher, transcriber, editor (print music publishing)

    Music Business/Management

    Advertising executive, booking agent, business manager, field merchandiser, music publisher, personal manager, professional manager

    Music Education

    Choir director, college/conservatory/university music educator, elementary school music teacher, music supervisor, private instructor, secondary school music teacher, online instructor

    Music Production and Engineering

    MIDI engineering, music director, producer, program director, recording engineer, studio director or manager

    Music Therapy

    Music therapist, creative arts therapist, health care delivery professional (potential settings include hospitals, hospice facilities, substance abuse programs, oncology treatment centers, pain/stress management clinics, correctional facilities, and special education settings)


    Vocal/instrumental soloist, session musician, general business musician, performing artist, orchestra/group member, background vocalist, floor show band

    Professional Music

    Performance careers for vocalists and those who play bass, brass, guitar, percussion, piano, strings, and woodwinds


    Composer, jingle writer, lyricist, producer/songwriter, singer/performing songwriter, staff or freelance songwriter

    Beyond playing an instrument, you can develop yourself in any of the careers listed above.

    If you insist on just playing an instrument, then your career choice should be performance.

    Beyond the superficial playing that everyone out there is exposed to, you must develop the necessary techniques that will make you stand out, develop your unique sound on your instrument (aka – “signature”), and above all, expose yourself to communication arts.

    “Face It! You Can’t Survive Everywhere In The Ecosystem.”

    Don’t just be in the ecosystem, find the habitat that best supports you.

    Fish that have what it takes (the adaptation) to survive in salty waters in the sea, may not survive in fresh water (with little or no salt) for long.

    There are a vast number of musicians who are stagnated or have even lost out in the game of life because they are growing in the wrong habitat.

    Apples don’t grow in all parts of the world. Apples can only grow if planted in a habitat that matches its requirements in temperature, wind flow, etc.

    Being in the wrong habitat not only affects music but growth in life as a whole.

    Let’s talk about niche.

    “HearandPlay.com specializes in teaching musicians around the world how to play music by ear”

    Hear and Play Music Group is in the music education habitat.

    However, if you want to talk about niche, HearandPlay.com’s niche is “piano lessons by ear.”

    At the habitat level, you can find drums, guitar, and vocal courses in the HearandPlay series, but when you talk about our niche, we are known by millions around the world for piano lessons.

    We’ve covered GospelKeys series, Musician Transformation, Musician Breakthrough, and recently launched Musician Xplosion all in one niche, just to give you some examples.

    Final Words

    “Man know thyself.” Socrates

    Know your niche, that’s your selling point. You can’t do everything.

    Discover what you love best and get known for it. Be a meaningful specific. “HearandPlay.com specializes in…” – those are phrases that depict niche.

    In a future post, I’ll be showing you how to discover your niche in music.

    Until then.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 bidemi

    You people made music easier and learnable. Each information is an eye opener. Blog post highly appreciated.


    2 Nelcoj

    Teach me from the beggining. I don’t have enough mb to download videos now.


    3 JollyJ

    what an amazing discovery. thank you for this insightful message


    4 Chuku Onyemachi

    You’re welcome JollyJ


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