Ethnomusicologists get in the field to learn around the musical practices of various groups, writing academic studies that framework musical traditions and also movements v a sociocultural lens.

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Ethnomusicologists room usually work by colleges or universities, wherein they lecture in enhancement to conducting research. (Others space employed through museums, archives, institutes, document labels, etc.) They examine the music of a society within a social and also political framework, spending lengthy periods that time living immersed in the society they study.

Professor Adriana Helbig that the university of Pittsburgh says it’s the research of “how human being use music to create community and how lock relate come each other on the physical, emotional and national level.” They likewise teach students, current work come peers, and write research study projects.

Helbig states “my job begins an extremely early because I’m working in Europe. I do a most my research in between 5-8am. Ns can’t just acquire to work-related at 8 am” because of the time difference. “I teach 2 classes a day” and conduct “field work-related in the summer. I have to setup a year front of time because of give work deadlines. . . . You have to think 2 or three measures ahead.”

Ethnomusicologists work-related with students, Musicians, Music Librarians, and other Professors and Ethnomusicologists.


On average, Ethnomusicologists earn roughly $72,600 annually. The salary variety for Ethnomusicologists runs from $32,000 come $122,000.

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job Outlook

Usually, one Ethnomusicologist will teach during the school year, v occasional overseas outings to teach examine abroad courses. Lock have consistent office hours and teach a specific amount of classes during the day or the night.

However, they additionally spend time composing grants, conducting research and also putting together travel and research plans because that the durations of time when they’ll it is in conducting fieldwork. This can occur at anytime—during “normal” company hours and also outside that them. Schedules also vary based upon where the Ethnomusicologist’s key area of research is located; to interact with people approximately the world, they often have to gain up an extremely early or remain up very late.

Career path

Most Ethnomusicologists begin off as Adjunct Professors, relocating on to come to be Visiting Professors or Visiting Assistant Professors before landing Assistant Professor positions and getting ~ above a tenure track. Native Assistant Professor they come to be Professors. Further advancement can come in the form of working v a much more well-known, prestigious university or institute, or through coming to be Director that the connected university department.

It’s a long road to landing that an initial tenured place as an Ethnomusicologist “because we have to do research and lots of long training,” Helbig says. “I ended up being an Adjunct the critical year of my grad institution program, obtaining paid come teach one class,” prior to moving top top to become a visiting Assistant Professor as a sabbatical replacement, and also finally finishing up at the university of Pittsburgh wherein she teach for six years before getting on the tenure track.

“The common job has actually 50-80 applicants. Everybody has actually a Ph.D. And also everybody is fairly qualified for this reason a many it is learning exactly how to sector yourself,” she says. “You must know more than just your subfield these days so you can be rental to teach various other classes” prefer jazz, etc. To add an Ethnomusicologist has actually to be able to speak the same academic language together their various other colleagues top top the music staff.

Start looking at grad school programs throughout junior year. Have actually at the very least two solid pieces of writing “that present your chops.”Start do connections.Most people apply to an typical of eight grad school programs.Apply to doctoral programs to acquire funding. This won’t happen if you only apply to MA programs.
experience & an abilities

“Study abroad so you understand your lull levels.” also as undergraduates, the relations aspiring Ethnomusicologists do on these programs are key because as in all music careers, “it’s who you know” and also these space the connections civilization will use “to gain a research task going.”

Traveling suffer ranks very for a slightly different reason. Part of Helbig’s task as an Assistant Professor is planning and leading groups of student on study abroad.

She claims “when I carry out my research abroad programs, I’m drawing on how much time ns need” to setup out the trips based on personal experience. This same expertise of just how long points take is essential for fieldwork as soon as she needs to make plans based upon “how long it takes to uncover an underground scene versus talking to Producers. Everything you watch builds on everything else.”

It’s necessary to learn just how to manage time and stress levels. “Learn these species of skills so you have the right to use your time well in other countries,” she says. It’s also important to research a language the isn’t French, German, or Spanish.

Choose “something the relates to your own experiences however isn’t a early american language.” She uses the instance that in Russia, anyone speaks Russian, however there are also many other tongues specific to minority cultural groups. Speaking this languages will assist Researchers communicate, navigate their new location, and also show respect and also a severe interest in the culture.

An Ethnomusicologist have to enjoy getting language an abilities and “really be ready to travel. This no the field for girlfriend if you’re uncomfortable in various cultures and also social situations,” Helbig says.

Although this is an scholastic field of study, aspiring Ethnomusicologists need to not adhere to the buttoned-up Professor stereotype. When learning about other cultures, Ethnomusicologists can hear things favor “take her shoes off, we’re walk to discover some irish dancing,” and they have to be excited come “participate in the music and how that music is provided in the culture.”

Ethnomusicologists need to “persevere, it is in determined and stubborn” yet additionally be “laid earlier because things go not correct all the time in fieldwork.”

A Ph.D. Is vital to ending up being a Professor. Ethnomusicology MA level programs space available, but they have practically no likelihood of being funded, and also will not permit a candidate to advancement as much as possible in this career.

“You require this degree in music to make these connections,” Helbig says, explaining the the research and study abroad relationships students do will stay with castle throughout your career, opening new doors to examine in different locations of the world.

She stresses that attending one undergraduate program with people music great is important, saying the “if you just go come a college that talks about Bach and also Beethoven, it’s not going to give you a sense of what you deserve to do.” In addition to schoolwork, students have to be motivated to attend regional conferences, join Ethnomusicology organizations and get to know the civilization in their chosen ar to acquire exposure to more opportunities.

With yearly conferences organized in north America, The culture for Ethnomusicology is great resource. The global Council for timeless Music stop conferences across the world.

Google Scholar is a an excellent resource for virtual research. “What understanding you? space you interested in music and sexuality? Music and also race? simply start reading,” Helbig says.

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“Know what you’re getting into” in regards to time commitment, stress, and also the project market. It’s incredibly competitive since jobs rarely open up, to add there’s the tenure process. Once world get to where they desire to be, also if it’s not perfect, “they continue to be there and make things work.”

Also, it is in organized. You might have to it is in a TA because that 300 students. You might have to put together a concert. “You have to ask a lot of of people for help.”

Find a Professor that can help you “because a Professor i will not ~ reach the end to you. I’m here to help. I’ll never not reply to your email.”