Many job titles fall under the performer umbrella. Musicians, singers, actors and dancers all make a living performing, but the life of an artiste can be difficult. Entertainers going out on auditions are constantly rejected. The job outlook for this career path is less than promising. Compared to other occupations, job growth is slow and the competition for jobs is intense.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for musicians and singers was £7.90 in 2008. Earnings for these performers varied greatly. The highest 10 per cent of earners took home more than £38.90 an hour. The lowest-paid 10 per cent of workers earned less than £4.90 for an hour of work. The average hourly wage for an actor in 2008 was £18.80. The median hourly wage for dancers in 2008 was £7.90. The highest 10 per cent earned more than £17.70 and the lowest-paid actors made less than £4.70 an hour.
Musicians and singers can find work with music studios, city orchestras, performance houses, studios, bars and any other place where music is produced or performed. Actors can find positions acting in plays, working on television shows, making movies, entertaining at theme parks or performing at festivals or private parties. Performance companies are the main employer of dancers, but opportunities are also available at some bars, theme parks and casinos.
BLS officials predict musicians and singers will experience 8 per cent job growth between 2008 and 2018. According to BLS records, musicians, singers and related workers held 240,000 positions in 2008.
Actors held 56,500 positions the same year; dancers held 13,000. Job growth for dancers is even slower than the rate for musicians and singers. Experts say the field will experience 7 per cent job growth between 2008 and 2018. Competition for jobs in all these fields is tough. The number of aspiring performers is much larger than the number of positions available.
There are no givens when it comes to a performer's work schedule; however, many entertainers spend their nights performing and their days practicing their craft. Assignments or gigs may last a single night or many years. Long stretches of unemployment are common. In addition to the time they spend working and practicing, a large part of an entertainer's time is spent auditioning for jobs and preparing for tryouts.
Most performers spend years learning and perfecting their craft. For example, most dancers receive formal instruction before they reach 15 years of age, and continue training throughout their careers. Actors' studios give students an outlet to perform and the opportunity to learn techniques. Universities offer degrees in performing arts as well. Aspiring performers can earn degrees in dance, theatre acting and music, but when it comes to employment, talent and ability outweigh credentials and formal training.
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