For students of music and music lovers alike, some of the most appealing careers may be in music programming. This task requires a strong background in music and a keen ear for the latest trends. People who work in music programming make selections of what will appear on a program or be heard by an audience at many different types of events.
Radio disc jockeys, or DJs, choose the music that will air over a station. Besides playing music that is in keeping with the theme of the station, radio DJs must also take into account the time of day and caller requests. Radio DJs must leave the appropriate amount of time for commercial breaks and end their program at the right time as well.
Live DJs perform at weddings, dance clubs, outdoor festivals and other special events, choosing what music to play and also mixing or scratching the music to create custom sounds. Live DJs may work from a playlist suggested by event organizers, take requests from the audience and choose the right songs for the mood of the crowd, such as playing up-tempo dance music when the crowd is energized and slower songs later in the night or as the party winds down.
Concert programmers work for orchestras and other music organizations. They provide more long-term music programming, such as arranging the season schedule for an orchestra. Concert programmers work with the orchestras board of directors and music director to choose a theme for the season and organize special event concerts, determine the performance schedule and set up guest conductors and featured musicians.
Event coordinators program music by determining what the people who are planning a special event want and relaying this information to a DJ or technician, who may simply create a digital playlist that will play automatically for the duration of the event. The music programming that an event coordinator does is just one small part of the job, which also includes arranging the catering and decorating for the event.
Anyone who hosts others can become a music programmer. Restaurant managers and hosts may choose the music played over the public address system, matching the music to the mood in the dining room. The same is true for retail stores, where customer service personnel act as hosts by making sure there is music playing to enhance the mood and keep shoppers in the store longer.
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