What Can You Do With A Music Degree?

“What can I do with a music degree?” It’s a common enough question for the musician who’s thinking about going to college. Unlike choosing business or nursing, where it may seem like a clear career path stretches ahead, music seems like rather a vague college major. Does a music degree prepare students to launch a rock ‘n roll band? Do graduates typically become opera divas?

The answer is yes and no. While many people who choose a music major go on to be performers or teachers, many others will go into quite different professions. Hard as it may be to believe, there are lawyers who earned their undergraduate degree in a music related major. The same can be said for doctors, accountants and advertising executives.

The reality is that a great diversity of students choose to earn a music degree. What you can do with a degree in music is truly up to you and your ambition. If it is your dream to become a celebrated cellist, then there are degree programs designed to help you achieve your goal. If, on the other hand, you hope to teach elementary school children one day, a music degree may also be an excellent choice. Even if your ultimate career goal does not obviously involve music, you can still derive benefit from the discipline, focus and creativity you will develop in the pursuit of your degree.

Inherent in the pursuit of a music degree is the development of many skills and abilities that will serve students well in any field of work. Years of intensive practice help to build a strong work ethic and the ability to fine tune a project to a highly polished degree. Because being a musician or vocalist involves working as part of a larger group, students in this major also learn to be strong team members who are good at listening to the ideas of others and incorporating them into a finished product. Moreover, many people who study music are creative and able to think outside the box. Regardless of the industry in which they choose to work, their ability to devise, refine and implement innovative ideas is a valuable skill that will be sought after by many potential employers.

Music majors who have a passion for performance may go on to become a singer or play an instrument in an orchestra or other ensemble. Some of these performers may branch out into conducting one day. Other graduates will become songwriters or composers. Perhaps they will write the next popular song everyone hears on the radio or create the score for a major motion picture. Music degree holders may also choose to help others with their learning. A degree in music education enables the graduate to teach in public and private settings. A music therapy degree allows people to help clients who are dealing with physical, emotional and psychological issues. Some graduates will take a more business oriented approach, choosing to become a music agent or a music industry executive for a record label.

Like many four year degrees, a music degree is valuable not just for the specific information the student learns in class. The pursuit of the degree also instills a number of useful skills and abilities that the student can use in absolutely any job. Whether the student decides to become a music therapist, an elementary school teacher or a violinist, earning a degree will grant them the basic credentials they need for success. The following list is merely a small sampling of the potential careers that people who earn a music degree may pursue.

  • Administrator of an arts organization
  • Music transcriber
  • Vocalist
  • Musician
  • Conductor
  • Songwriter
  • Producer
  • Historian
  • Music agent
  • Music critic
  • Teacher
  • Librarian
  • Music licensing
  • Music publishing
  • Music therapist
  • Music instrument repairer
  • Promoter
  • Tour manager
  • Sound technician
  • Public relations representative