Session Musician

Add your musical skill to other musicians' recordings.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Session Musicians do?

In group activities, the entire team must work together to accomplish the goal. Whether it’s pulling off a theater production, completing a group presentation for work, or winning a football game, each individual plays an important part. In the case of a band or an orchestra, each player contributes to the overall sound. When there’s a void in the regular Players, the Session Musician is called in.

As a Session Musician, you sit in for a “session.” That might mean getting a call on a Friday afternoon because the local theater production needs a Saxophone Player for that weekend’s performances. It could also mean going on tour with a famous band.

Whatever your session, there are advantages and disadvantages to the job. If you fill in for an ill Drummer at the local pub, but the band fails to bring in a windfall of money, you’re still paid your contract rate, regardless of the “cut” between band members. Of course, as an on-call Musician, you also forfeit some benefits that the regular Band Members receive, such as royalties on future sales.

Session Musicians are useful for last minute fill-ins, but also provide musical backup for television commercials and movies. You might even play with the band in the recording studio when a Band Member is missing or when they need the unique sounds of a harmonica on one particular song.


Should I be a Session Musician?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Studio Musician

    How to become a Session Musician

    Most Session Musicians have a Bachelor's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:y9aooa&chl=no+college+%2826%25%29|certificate+%2832%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2821%25%29|master%27s+%2821%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,26,32
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