A music degree gives you far more opportunities than you may realize, and there’s more you can do with a music degree now than ever before. While performing and teaching are two of the most common careers in music, those don’t even begin to cover all the opportunities for music majors.
So, what can you do with a music degree? Continue reading to find out!
What Can You Do With a Music Degree?
While there are careers in music that never fundamentally change, paying attention to the ever-changing opportunities created in this industry is essential. Every year, there are new inventions, products, teaching methods, and avenues through which music goes, and it’s crucial for you to stay updated.
Here are some of the greatest opportunities for a career in music after graduating.
All the music you’ve ever heard and loved exists because it went through a production process. It doesn’t matter if the recorded music is famous or underground, or if it’s good or excellent; music producers are crucial in making the publishing of a song possible.
Music production is the process of creating, capturing, manipulating, and preserving music so that it can be distributed and enjoyed by people. A music producer has to schedule and budget the recording, shape the piece, supervise performance, and make sure that the quality and talent of the musician are being represented to the fullest.
The term musician encapsulates many different professions at once. A musician can be part of a band, an orchestra in concert halls, a recording studio musician, or part of a tour crew together with an artist or company. They have the duty of analyzing the music they’re given by their employer and practicing it until they master it. They’re expected to attend rehearsals and perform in groups with other musicians whenever needed.
Music agents are crucial to the music industry, especially to an artist’s career. They take care of everything to do with their artist’s publishing, marketing, and performances. They schedule concerts, tours, and appearances while negotiating fees, contracts, and bookings.
For up-and-coming musicians, music agents try to book club dates and openings. On the other hand, an agent that works for famous artists usually plans national and world tours, schedules appearances on radio and TV, and secures advertisements and sponsors.
Whatever type of musician they work for, music agents have to develop relationships with promoters, festival organizers, and venue managers. It is a vital part of an agent’s job to become familiar with the musical style, clientele, and support services that their musician can benefit from.
A music director, otherwise known as a conductor, oversees the auditions and rehearsal processes of bands and orchestras. After choosing the appropriate musicians, they lead that group during their performance.
Music directors need to have extensive knowledge of music in general and musical scores specifically because they will be tasked with selecting and composing different musical arrangements for the musicians.
Because they are in a ‘director’ position, they will also be expected to carry out the administrative side of things, such as scheduling rehearsals and being the point of communication between different members and other parties. Music directors can work in colleges, concert halls, recording studios, or theaters, with some of these places requiring a master’s degree as well.
With studios being the holy spots for music creation, a studio manager’s job is just as crucial as anything else on this list. A studio manager oversees the operations of broadcasting, photography, or music studios. They need to hire studio staff and set rates for clients who wish to use their studio for recording music.
With technology evolving day by day, studio managers have the critical responsibility of maintaining and updating the equipment in their studios to the most advanced ones possible. They also have to schedule clients orderly so as not to overbook the studio and cause unnecessary issues for the artists.
Music teachers can work at primary or secondary levels in schools and colleges. More specifically, these educators can also be employed by institutions that specialize in arts.
Music teachers can do many things, such as instructing individuals and groups on understanding music terminology, playing an instrument, or whatever other music component they are interested in. Someone who wants to have a career in teaching music should consider getting an education major alongside their music degree.
Music therapy is a relatively new career for musicians, and it’s as exciting and vital as the traditional ones. A music therapist combines their counseling knowledge with their extensive skills in music to treat people with conditions or disorders such as dementia, depression, ADHD, substance abuse, etc.
The duties of a music therapist can vary widely according to their preferred form of counseling, including writing music, playing instruments, selecting specific records for patients, and many more. The fun thing about being a music therapist is that each day you’ll be trying different things, and each client will have their own set of needs to which you’ll have to adapt to give them all the help they need.
To practice music therapy, one has to get a bachelor’s degree in music, with many universities and colleges offering specific degree programs for this exact profession. You can also get a master’s or a doctorate degree to become a music therapist, and the level of your degree will also affect your annual salary.
Music therapists can be self-employed; however, they can also be found in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or mental health facilities.
Sound designers are creative artists who create and control sound in whatever media they work in. They capture original sound elements, modify existing sounds, or sometimes combine the two to create something new. The duties of a sound designer differ from industry to industry and from production to production. No matter what the project is, all they work with is sound.
Basically, a sound designer searches through audio libraries and finds the right sounds for a project. When the sounds they need cannot be found or licensed, sound designers record them in the studio and process them through digital audio workstations to create the exact effect they were looking for.
However, most sound designers do much more than this. To be a good sound designer, you’ll need to be a jack-of-all-trades, as you’ll be required to place mics, record dialogue, edit dialogue, mix sound, and record sounds in the field, depending on what project they’re employed in.
Sound engineers are also called “audio engineers.” They’re expected to help set up all the necessary sound equipment before recordings in studios or live shows. They can work for a record company, where they help rearrange and create instrumentals so that the vocal arrangements can create the desired song or effect when put together.
Music scholar or researcher/musicologist
Musicologists and music researchers are professionals that study the relationship between music and geography, politics, genders, races, cultures, and neuropsychology. Although most musicologists work as professors in universities, they don’t teach music but rather view it through the lens of social science.
For example, ethnomusicologists study music in a cultural context, while cognitive musicologists, on the other hand, examine how music affects the brain. A music historian explores the history of music, influential artists, genres, and instruments.
Like many other professions in this list, songwriters can perform several functions depending on their ambition and what they want to achieve throughout their careers. They usually write songs and sell them to a performer. This commercial venture is taken by many talented songwriters, as there are a lot of pop artists looking for ready-made songs to sing.
The other type of songwriter is the one that writes their songs and performs them. Not only do these artists have to be creative and intelligent, but they have to have the talent to also perform in front of an audience. This means the whole musical material is their own creation, making it one of the most difficult professions to become successful at.
It’s important to note that formal training is not necessary for being a singer-songwriter; thus, anyone with enough drive, ambition, and talent can have a go at it.
How Much Do Music Majors Make In Switzerland?
According to Jobs.ch, music majors in Switzerland make varying amounts of money depending on their chosen career path. Here are some salaries for the professions we listed above:
Studio Manager: CHF 82,000
Musician: CHF 69,062
Sound Engineer: CHF 60,120
Music Therapist: CHF 80,500
Music Teacher: CHF 87,500
What Does a Music Degree Program Teach You?
A music degree program will teach you many things, disciplines, and professions. While at it, you may choose a concentration such as voice-over, instrument, or performance. You’ll learn about music history and music theory, you’ll find out how to express yourself musically, and how to perform at your best by ear training, coupled with instrument learning and conducting.
But as you learn the specifics of your major, a music degree will also help you understand and appreciate the arts. Furthermore, you’ll discover an abundance of skills that will aid your career immensely, such as teamwork, creativity, organization, self-esteem, and communication.
Is a Music Degree Worth It?
Although most people want to get a music degree to entertain and perform on stage in front of an audience, studying music also helps get some very nice behind-the-scene jobs.
Employability is an essential aspect when getting a degree; in this regard, a music degree is definitely worth it. Wherever you choose to work, employers will absolutely value your music degree.
If you finish your music studies, you’ll have knowledge of music theory, note reading, performing, and teaching, which will help you land the perfect job. Of course, you’ll need to decide your concentration and focus on what career path you want to be on before beginning your studies.
While a music degree is worthwhile, it’s not always that necessary. To have a prosperous career in music, you don’t need a degree, and this goes especially for jobs that focus on performance. Those with music degrees are more prone to work in universities, orchestras, music festivals, and public schools.
The Bottom Line
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of professions for those who major in music, each more interesting and thrilling than the other. Some of the most passionate professionals are those who do what they love for a living, and getting a degree in music will surely help you achieve that stage of life.
A crucial aspect of people who love music is that their work does not feel like work. With that being said, the most beautiful thing about a music career is that you’ll get to share your dedication with others and positively impact anyone who loves music and wants to play, compose, conduct, or teach. Not only will you be able to do the very thing you care deeply about, but you’ll also get paid to do it.