For xp where you are pulling:
- for parties that kill fast, /nin; /whm in this party never gets any time to heal anyway, it takes longer to apply blink/stoneskin than to apply utsusemi, and you can run out of mp since you'll spend part of the time with melee songs on yourself
- for parties that kill slowly, I think /mage is slightly better, but it is more of a matter of preference; you have plenty of time to reapply blink/stoneskin in these parties and you can spend more time with ballad on although really most people are smart enough not to do these kinds of parties anymore
For everything else:
/whm or /sch depending on what specific abilities you need.
MP is a secondary stat for brd/mage. The main benefit is that when you are helping cover cures, you can spam cures a bit longer before you need ballad to recharge. Think of it as effecting your cure spike potential. I wouldn't sacrifice other stats in favor of MP though.
The primary stats for brd are song+ instruments, chr, wind skill, singing skill, magic accuracy, and song casting time/fast cast.
I meleed on brd with good results until about lvl 22 or so when accuracy starts to fall off. You won't be meleeing past that and most people don't even melee that far. A brd is usually keeping a song rotation:
elegy on mob
madrigal, minuet, or march for melees
another madrigal, minuet, or march for melees
ballad for mages
another ballad for mages
If you are /mage, you'll mix in some cures in there.
If you are pulling, you mix in some pulls in there and defensive buffs.
On end-game stuff, you might be using a carol against specific mobs.
BRD is probably one of the most race independent jobs in the game. Any race can play BRD fine. Taru make fine BRDs and we look the cutest doing it. ;)