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Musicians perform all genres of music for live productions or for recording. This usually includes playing an instrument, solo or as part of a group or ensemble. Professional musicians are usually at the top of their game, with a lot of talent and a passion for listening to and performing music.
There are many different genres of music and hundreds of instruments that can be played, but generally musicians can be separated into popular and classical musicians. These are the two main areas of the music industry that musicians will specialise in, no matter what instrument they play.
Classical musicians are likely to perform, compose or conduct music. They might play an instrument or sing classically, for live performances or for recording. Classical music includes genres that are more traditional such as orchestral, folk, jazz or blues. Some musicians do session work for backing tracks for television adverts or film soundtracks, or are brought in for specific live events and performances.
Some classical musicians might extend their work to music education or composing. Whilst many classical musicians remain relatively anonymous in their careers, there are some that become famous in their particular instrument, and can be the main act of huge classical performances. A lot of practice is required as a classical musician, either in rehearsals with the orchestra or group, or alone at home.
Pop music combines a number of modern genres, such as rock, indie, folk, hip-hop and R&B. Whilst many classical instruments are used in both classical and popular music, pop musicians tend to play instruments such as guitars, drums, keyboards and percussion.
Popular musicians play in bands, as solo musicians or as session musicians. Some musicians may sing or play one or more musical instruments for a large mainstream audience. Their job can involve live performances but also a lot of recording music for release into the charts. Popular musicians may compose their own songs or may perform songs that someone else has written.
Popular musicians often have to rely on more than just their musical talent. They might need to include dance and movement as part of their performance and work on their personas. They need to attend rehearsals frequently, either with their group or alone with their manager. Musicians may also take part in arranging their gigs, tours and public promotional appearances.