Music is composed and performed for a variety of purposes, from aesthetic pleasure to religious or ceremonial purposes, to entertainment products for the market. Amateur musicians compose and play music for their enjoyment and do not make a living from music.

Trained musicians are employed by several universities and organizations, including the churches, armed forces and synagogues, symphony orchestras, radio and television stations, and music schools. Additionally, professional musicians work as freelancers and seek contracts and engagement in different environments.

Although amateur musicians differ from professional musicians in that amateur musicians have a non-musical source of income, there are often many relationships between amateur musicians and professional musicians. Beginner amateur musicians take lessons from professional musicians.

In a community setting, advanced amateur musicians perform with professional musicians in various ensembles and orchestras. In some rare cases, amateur musicians reach a level of professional competence and can perform in a professional performance environment.

Music is often stored in memories and performances and transmitted orally or by ear. When a music creator is no longer recognized, this music is often categorized as “traditional”.

Various musical traditions have different attitudes about how and where changes should be made to the original material, from those that are fairly strict to those requiring musical improvisation or modification.

When music is recorded it is usually recorded, so there are clues as to what the listener should hear and what the musician must do to play the music. This is known as musical notation.

Learning to read notation includes music theory, harmony, performing learning practice, and in some cases understanding historical performance methods.

Written notation varies according to musical style and period. In Western music, the most common type of sheet music is the score, which includes all the musical parts of an ensemble, as well as sections representing musical notation for individual performers or singers.