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Music: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Education

  • Teaching
  • Private lessons

Employers

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

Information & 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

  • 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 theatres
  • Ballet productions
  • Recording industry
  • Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Information & 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

  • Composing
  • Arranging

Employers

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

Information & Strategies

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

Conducting

    Employers

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

    Information & 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

      Information & 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

        Information & Strategies

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

        Recording Industry

        • 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)

        Information & 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

        • 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

        Employers

        • Radio and television stations
        • Virtual reality sound environments such as internet sites, software creators

        Information & 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

        • Sales
        • Music Journalism
        • Law

        Employers

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

        Information & Strategies

        • Get sales experience. Work in a retail music outlet.
        • Take courses in journalism and English.
        • Write articles for campus newspaper.
        • Earn law degree.

        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 "multi-talented."
        • 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.
        Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

        Next Steps

        Learn about North Park's music program.

        Music Student