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Super Admin      Feb 01, 2024

How Can A Career In Ethnomusicologist Change Your Life?

The study of cultural and social characteristics of music, as well as how it is produced, perceived, and appreciated in various cultures, is known as ethnomusicology. In order to examine how music was created, how it is understood, and how it is interwoven into local tribes' everyday lives, ethnomusicologists may spend years acclimating to a culture in Japan, China, or Africa. If all this sounds interesting, you may consider a career in this field.

We'll go over all there is to know about ethnomusicology in this post and what types of careers are open to those with a background in it. While also covering the salary aspects and everything involved in education to prepare you for a thriving career in this field.

What is Ethnomusicologist?

Diving into the raison d’etre of Ethnomusicologists, or to put it another way, the efficacy of ethnomusicologists, they are specialists in musical instruments and genres from all around the world. The study of how music links to the culture that creates it is another aspect of their specialty. 

The academic discipline of ethnomusicology examines the sociocultural facets of music. To put it another way, ethnomusicologists conduct a critical analysis of the social and cultural foundations of music and the musicians who create it.

Consecutively, experts in this subject don't only focus on the music's sound but rather have a wide understanding of it. Instead, they expand on their research by looking at the cognitive, biological, and interpersonal aspects of music production. In a nutshell, ethnomusicology is the study of the musically creative society.

An ethnomusicologist studies the social and cultural background of music. To learn about the musical customs and methods of many nations and peoples, you will travel to numerous locations throughout the globe. You will get knowledge about their musicians, their gear, and the significance of the overall musical performance to the particular culture. Additionally, you'll try to understand how important music is to the people in that particular culture.

As an ethnomusicologist, you will get the opportunity to travel widely. Without attempting to alter the system, you will simply play the character of an observer and perhaps even a participant in the musical culture you are researching. You can be tasked with studying an indigenous musical tradition in a nation in Asia or the musical instruments utilized by a particular tribe in Africa.

Your how-to guide to pursuing a career as an Ethnomusicologist

Since music, culture, and travel are the three pillars of this profession, an ethnomusicologist job would be ideal for people who share these three passions. For individuals who desire to conduct both research and teaching at the same time, it is also highly gratifying. Additionally, an ethnomusicologist's talents can be used for a variety of jobs in the music business, museums, and other organizations. Along with allowing the professional the opportunity to travel the world, see new cultures, and get to know new people, it is a vocation that pays well.

Below are some ways by which you can get into this hottest field.

Basic education requirements

A bachelor's degree in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, or a closely related discipline is often required by ethnomusicologists. They frequently have music minors. Some people also decide to pursue an ethnomusicology degree, which is increasingly being provided by colleges and institutions. However, an ethnomusicologist does not always need a bachelor's degree to find entry-level employment in other fields. 

To strengthen their credentials, working ethnomusicologists who want to teach in colleges and universities should pursue a master's degree first, followed by a Ph.D. degree. For ethnomusicologists to do autonomous research, a Ph.D. degree is required. 

Students pursuing a master's degree in ethnomusicology often enroll in a wide range of ethnography and music coursework and finish a comprehensive research thesis that frequently involves fieldwork. As a student of ethnomusicology, you could take some of the following classes:

  • Music theory
  • Musicology
  • Musical instruction
  • Ensemble
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Music research
  • World music

It's crucial to choose your job path once you've earned your master's degree. Your master's degree may be adequate if you have the option to work in a museum, independently as a researcher, or as a music teacher. However, academics in higher education make up the majority of ethnomusicologists' jobs. It's crucial to submit an application to a Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology if you wish to work in higher education. You can stay at the college or hunt for a different institution that offers more financial aid or better research possibilities.

Network with professionals

One of the finest methods to discover employment possibilities in ethnomusicology is through professional relationships. Try to establish enduring bonds with your teachers, mentors, and fellow students while you're still in school. Following graduation, you can network with other experts in the subject of ethnomusicology by going to conferences and taking part in collaborative fieldwork. These connections may improve your comprehension of music and culture and open you more chances for teaching and study.

Gain experience

Building a CV that will help you land a job at a university is crucial if you want to pursue a career in ethnomusicology. It's crucial to take advantage of these possibilities while you can because your time in school offers special research opportunities that might be difficult to locate otherwise. Try to undertake as much fieldwork as you can, and if you can, offer to serve as a research assistant for your lecturers. You could think about submitting pieces to academic journals and school publications since published writing is another significant technique to strengthen your resume.

Never stop learning

You must truly love music in order to excel in this line of work. You must have a strong desire to learn about the history of music and the role that music plays in many cultures. Additionally, you must enjoy doing research and have a keen eye for detail. Additionally, you must appreciate engaging with others from various cultures and backgrounds whose customs and beliefs may differ greatly from your own. 

Since you'll be traveling to various locations for this job, you should also like traveling and be ok with the thought that you'll be spending a lot of time away from home. Additionally, you must have patience and be open to learning new languages since it will be simpler to obtain information if you can communicate with the individuals whose musical culture you are researching.

The career outlook for ethnomusicologists

Data on the employment rate for ethnomusicologists is not additionally collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not also collect information on the employment rate for ethnomusicologists. The organization has nonetheless predicted a highly good job rate for postsecondary instructors from 2012 to 2022. It is anticipated to increase faster than normal, at 19 percent. 

For ethnomusicologists looking for academic roles, the employment rate for postsecondary art, theatre, and music teachers is still positive despite being somewhat lower at 16%. But there is fierce rivalry for tenure-track posts, with better prospects going to individuals with experience. The job prognosis is also expected to be favorable for ethnomusicologists who want to work in museums, at 11%, which is approximately as fast as the national average.

What else can you do with the degree?

In higher education or private research facilities, ethnomusicologists are a sort of academic professional that both teaches and does original research. They have a variety of other occupations they might pursue on the side or as a different career.

The following is a list of some of the most typical jobs held by ethnomusicologists:

Academic researcher: They are fully qualified to work as academic researchers at a university, college, or research organization.

Lecturer or instructor: They are qualified to teach research techniques as a professor or adjunct lecturer at a post-secondary school using their academic qualifications.

Music historian: In addition to ethnographic research, they are knowledgeable in the field of music history, making them a strong contender for the position.

Music teacher/tutor: Pedagogically minded people may choose to tutor adults or children in music theory or perform as music teachers or tutors. However, doing so would need knowledge of and perhaps certification in a certain instrument.

Elementary or high school teachers: After completing their doctorate studies, ethnomusicologists may choose to work as elementary or secondary school teachers with a focus on leading music lessons or after-school ensembles.

You can think of considering working as a high school music or history teacher if you're interested in educating pupils about music or culture. In this role, you would create lesson plans to instruct students in one of these areas, and you would also have supervision responsibilities outside of the classroom in places like the cafeteria or corridor. A bachelor's degree and a teaching license are requirements for high school instructors. A career as a concert musician is an additional choice. Although formal schooling is not necessary, finishing a postsecondary educational program will help you improve your talents.

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