Five career ideas for performing artists

September 27, 2021

You do not need to be a starving artist!

The career opportunities related to performing arts are vast. One of the joys of the internet is having immediate access to information about opportunities around the world, along with evidence of other successful young people. 

performing arts: type of art or skill performed for an audience, such as dance, drama, or music

The creative life is rewarding for everyone – the performers and the audience. 

Former teacher and theater director Treva Dayton says it this way

Music and theatre students serve their communities through sharing art, and they experience the building of community through such performances. Just as with high school sports events, performing arts activities help build and strengthen the bonds between schools and communities to everyone’s advantage.

Whether performing arts becomes your primary income or a side gig, it’s an important pursuit. High school juniors and seniors around the world are submitting college applications, wondering if performance-based careers are practical or not. 

There’s a mixture of skills and experience that’s necessary to gain traction, and sometimes that includes trade schools or colleges. So, as you’re contemplating options for life after high school…

Here are five not-so-obvious career ideas for those who want to be on (or at least near) a stage.


We can all visualize a band at a concert or half-time show. But singers and instrumentalists are constantly in demand for studio work. Bands need extra players on their albums, animators need soundtracks for their video games, and brands need jingles for their soundtracks.


High-profile dance companies may be extremely difficult to join, but don’t let that keep you seated. Theaters often have roles for local performers when a traveling show comes through town. But many studios and theaters hire choreographers to come up with new routines. 


Directors get to choose the players and figure out how a screenplay or script will come alive. This is true for music videos, plays, ballets… someone orchestrates the performance. Maybe you’re that someone who calls the shots on set. A directing career is possible!

Hair & Makeup Artist

This is a huge need even in high school performances. You can build up your experience by primping yourself or turning your friends into zombies. They’ll have fun, and you’ll be improving your skills. Who knows, you may set yourself up for work both as an actor and a makeup artist. 

Set Designer

A typical career counselor isn’t going to link architecture or construction management to performing arts. Perhaps you’re considering a path in building design, but the appeal of the arts is tugging. There’s no reason you can’t do both. Get paid to build physical and virtual worlds for other performers.

Remember the secret to standing out…

Before you reach out to a potential employer or college admissions office, remember that they get tons of applications. Meeting people – networking – is a great way to find opportunities you might not be aware of. OnStageBlog says “put yourself out there!” 

You need to stand out. Make sure your spikeview portfolio is complete and share the link in your college applications and emails. 

We love inspiring stories, so let us know how your quest for a creative life is going!

1 Comment

on Five career ideas for performing artists.
  1. |

    […] are tons of career opportunities for performing artists. The internet is loaded with evidence of other successful young people living as thriving artists, […]