A List of Careers for a Pianist

By Skip Davis ; Updated September 15, 2017
Entertaining people through piano can be a rewarding experience.

The piano, developed in the 18th century by Italian musician Bartolomeo Cristofori, has become one of the most popular instruments. Modern pianists have several choices for careers in piano. They include teaching others how to play and entertaining crowds by playing in concert halls throughout the world. Careers are also available in the recording industry, such as playing in studios or being a rock 'n' roll artist.

Piano Teacher

Though many piano teachers lack enough clients to make it a career, some have their own studio. Most piano teachers teach out of their homes. One way to build a clientele is to teach students at a local community center. This connects piano teachers with a student base that is already in place. Online sites are available to match piano teachers with students, such as the Piano Teachers Federation (see Resources). Also, when a piano teacher hosts a recital that showcases students' talents, potential customers can see how much the students' abilities have improved under the teacher's guidance.

Classical Pianist

Pianists who are interested in the works of Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart often pursue careers as classical pianists. Top classical pianists have fulfilling careers playing concert halls, such as Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and Royal Albert Hall in London. Most classical pianists begin training as children and continue their education through college. In fact, colleges and universities are among the venues classical pianists play early in their careers. Classical pianists also play at weddings and graduation ceremonies and teach at universities. Organizations such as the American Pianists Association provide resources for aspiring classical pianists (see Resources).

Studio Musician

Many pop, country and rock 'n' roll singers need a pianist when they are recording an album. Studio pianists are hired to play piano tracks for recorded songs. Many enjoy lucrative careers, because recording sessions are funded by major record labels. These gigs last only a few days or weeks, so studio musicians constantly look for work.

Networking in recording industry circles spreads the word about your talents in this area. Some studio pianists start as part of a band and gradually join the ranks of studio musicians. Others obtain apprenticeships or low-level jobs at a studio, where they can show off their talents during their free time, or attend a music recording institute.

About the Author

Skip Davis has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has appeared in "Southern Literary Magazine," on various websites and in graphic panels at the Jackson Zoological Park in Jackson, Miss. Currently living in Southern California, Davis received his Bachelor of Arts in theater at Belhaven College.