What Can I Do With a Music Degree

Education

Areas

  • Teaching
  • Private Lessons

Employers

  • Daycare centers
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Private schools
  • Recreation centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Conservatories
  • Studios
  • Self-employed

Strategies

Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching. Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences. Graduate degree required to teach in higher education. Specialize in an area such as music, music theory, composition, music history, etc. Performance skill on one instrument or voice required. Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.

Performance

Areas

  • Instrumental
  • Vocal

Employers

  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras
  • Symphony orchestras
  • Small ensembles
  • Rock or jazz groups
  • Dance bands
  • Concert soloist
  • Clubs and restaurants
  • Church choirs
  • Community choral groups
  • Opera chorus or soloist
  • Musical theaters
  • Ballet productions
  • Recording industry
  • Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Strategies

Develop musical talent and skill. Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music. Ambition and showmanship are important. Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts. Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition. Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers. Auditions are generally required.

Composing/Arranging

Areas

  • Composing
  • Arranging

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Record companies
  • Publishers
  • Muzak
  • Motion picture and television industries
  • Production companies

Strategies

Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important. Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers. Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise. Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary. Seek grants and awards through foundations. Very few musicians earn living through composing.

Conducting

Employers

  • Choirs
  • Choral groups
  • Symphonies
  • Opera
  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras

Strategies

Develop superior musicianship and leadership. Acquire extensive experience in performing groups. Opportunities extremely limited. Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.

Music Therapy

Employers

  • Hospitals: general and psychiatric
  • Special education facilities
  • Mental health centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private practice
  • Outpatient clinics

Strategies

Take courses in psychology, social work, or education. Earn a master's degree in music therapy and seek certification. Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting. Must demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.

Music Libraries

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Conservatories
  • Public libraries
  • Radio and television stations

Strategies

Develop computer and research skills. Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology. Earn master's degree in library/information science.

Recording Industry

Areas

  • Publishing and Editing
  • Producing
  • Recording
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Promotion/Media Relations
  • Publicity
  • Administration
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Product Management

Employers

Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)

Strategies

Complete an internship at a record company. Take business courses to work in management or administration. Journalism, public relations, and communication classes helpful for work in areas of promotion. Gain sales experience for marketing. Must interact well with people and develop persuasion tools. Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production. Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station. Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus. Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.

Communications

Areas

  • Music and Program Direction
  • On Air Performance
  • Promotion
  • Voice Overs
  • Copyright/Clearance Administration
  • Music License Administration
  • Music Editing, Production, and Composing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Post Production
  • Research

Emloyers

Radio and television stations
Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators

Strategies

Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism. Work at on-campus radio station. Complete an internship at a television or radio station.
Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.

Miscellaneous

Areas

  • Sales
  • Music Journalism
  • Law

Employers

  • Music shops
  • Record stores
  • Instrument manufacturers
  • Music-related publications
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Entertainment law firms

Strategies

  • Music shops
  • Record stores
  • Instrument manufacturers
  • Music-related publications
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Entertainment law firms

General Information

  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perseverance is required!
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multitalented."
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success.
  • Need basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Gain experience working for a music publisher or other businesses in the entertainment industry.
  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA /ADEA Employer

* Please note, this major is not currently available at NU.