Careers with a Music Degree


Bachelor of music degree programs are designed to prepare you for a variety careers in music, in one capacity or another.


These programs typically offer practical training in music combined with the literary, critical, historical and scientific perspectives acquired through complementary coursework, these programs.


With the knowledge, skills and competencies this mix enables you to acquire, your career path possibilities are numerous.


For example, as a music graduate, you may choose to pursue careers that are directly relevant to your degree (such as band director, music critic, or singer), careers less relevant to the degree (such as cultural administrator or concert promoter), or those that are not relevant at all!



What a Music Degree Program Teaches You

The composition, performance and reception of music are fundamental areas of study in a music program. Music training and music research are typically the two means to these practical and academic ends.


Other academic disciplines are drawn on to help you fully grasp various musical concepts. Fields such as history, sociology, English, anthropology as well as various physical sciences act as complimentary subject matter when teaching you about the analysis and reception of the art form.


As a result of your studies, you are able to develop musicianship that becomes second nature and accompanies the ability to understand and theorize the art of music.


Choosing an area of focus

Often in music programs, you may choose to refine your area of focus into a major. Some programs may be more specific than others in their major offerings, as some may allow you to focus your major by instrument classification, or even specific instrument. Examples of majors include:


• Composition major

• Comprehensive major

• Performance major

• Recording arts major


Preparation for a career in music

​In order to prepare you for a future career in the field, many programs require you to complete various career preparatory components, which may include preparing a work portfolio and completing a work placement in the music industry, or completing a major recording project.





Employable Skills You Can Gain

As a result of your studies in music, you are able to learn a set of skills that is specific to the subject matter. These skills apply to careers that are directly related to your degree, and they include:


• Development of muscular control (technical command of the voice or an instrument)

• Command of mind-body co-ordination

• The ability to express oneself to a range of audiences and be understood

• Selection of repertoires suited to particular performance contexts

• Development of musical interpretation

• Awareness of performance techniques appropriate to certain styles of music

• Presentational flair; awareness and acknowledgement of the audience

• Responsiveness to the performances of others in a group/team setting

• Able to develop and adhere to effective practice regimes

• Knowledge in specific instruments



List of Directly Relevant Careers

While not always considered professional training for any specific professions, a degree in this field you for jobs where general knowledge about music is considered very useful.


Career fields that directly apply abilities in music include:


• Band Director

• Blogger

• Cantor

• Choral Director

• Composer

• Conductor

• DJ

• Ethnomusicologist

• Instrument Designer

• Instrumental Musician

• Music Advisor

• Music Agent

• Music Critic

• Music Editor

• Music Journalist

• Music Lawyer

• Music Librarian

• Music Specialist

• Music Therapist

• Music Video Director

• Radio Program Director

• Radio Program Producer

• Radio Station Manager

• Record Sales Manager

• Recording Engineer

• Singer

• Sound Effects Designer

• Studio Musician

• University Professor





Transferrable Skills You’ll Develop for Other Careers

Upon graduation, you will make an excellent employee in almost any industry, not just in careers where skills in music are mandatory. This is because your studies enable you to gain several employable skills that are transferable across a variety of career fields and industries. These skills include:


• Qualitative researching abilities

• Written an verbal communications skills

• Time management skills

• Ability to think critically

• Ability to meet tight deadlines

• Ability to recognize quality information

• Presentation skills including an awareness of audience characteristics

• Curiosity and the desire to explore and carry a creative project through to delivery

• Ability to respond appropriately to constructive criticism



List of Careers Indirectly Related to This Degree

Because of the transferable skills you can gain (listed above), a degree in music gives you a valuable background in many other fields where skills related to music have a less direct application, including (but not at all limited to!):


• Audiologist

• Booking Agent

• Broadcaster

• Broadcasting Technician

• Camp Director

• Concert Promoter

• Cultural Administrator

• Elementary School Teacher

• Fundraiser

• High School Teacher

• Journalist

• Liturgist

• Production Assistant

• Publicist

• Retail Sales Associate

• Sound Technician

• Stage Manager

• Theatre Manager

• Tour Manager


Please Note: Many of the above careers require additional education, training, and experience. Click on careers you’re interested in to find out more about the specific education and training requirements.






Careers in the Music Industry

If you are pursuing a degree in this area because you want to work in the music industry, then there is a good chance this could become a reality for you. The music industry is quite diverse, and involves musical and non-musical careers in the following fields:


• Arts administration and management

• Management, representation and promotion of artists

• Community arts work

• Copyright administration in composition and recordings

• Music education and training

• Music librarianship

• Live performance of music

• Creating music for video games

• Music publishing Music therapy

• Distribution and retailing of music and other sound recordings

• Song writing and composition

• Production, retailing and distribution of music instruments



Typical Salary of Music Graduates

The fact of the matter is that the amount you could earn with this degree will mostly depend on you; what career field you choose, how hard you work, and what opportunities you take advantage of. There are also a series of other factors that will shape you future earnings, including: 


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The profession you pursue

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other skills you may have


Graduate Salary Figures - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $34,653 CAD* is the average salary earned by a ‘new fine and applied arts graduate’, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2008.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in “fine and applied arts”, not specifically for music graduates. Similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources at the time of writing.



What you can do with a music degree



Relevant Scholarships

Looking for help paying for school? Search our Music Scholarships page for awards in this field. And be sure to apply that any you're even only just barely qualified for; there is so much wasted scholarship money every year because of a lack of applicants. It's there for you, go get it!



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