Music Career Options: What’s Right for You?

Guest post by Kate Samano, Content Editor from University of Florida School of Music

After identifying and distinguishing the different types of music degrees, it is important to take a look at the various career options that music degrees can offer. Each type of music degree offers a graduate a different set of skills, so it is important to determine which degrees and careers correspond with each other.

Associate of Arts in Music

Apprentice Instrument Repair

Many holders of an associate’s degree in music begin their careers as an apprentice in instrument repair and restoration. This is an entry level position that typically works with more experienced repair and restoration technicians in an instrument shop. Their typical day-to-day tasks include repairing and refurbishing instruments, ordering parts, and fielding customer questions and phone calls. Once an apprentice has gained experience, they can move up to a full time specialist or open their own repair shop.

Music Venue Manager

An interesting career with an associate’s in music is becoming a music venue manager. This job is responsible for managing a venue or a group of venues. These managers handle the daily operations of the venue. Their daily tasks might include booking music acts, checking music and bar equipment, managing the needs of performers, and scheduling staff members.

Music Promoter

Music promoters work for both music venues and the musicians themselves. Their goal is to promote the artist or venue in order to generate revenue. Their duties include selling concert tickets, recordings, and merchandise. Another big part of their job is to help manage live music events. Having a background in marketing can be a plus in this role.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Music Therapist

One of the most rewarding career choices for holders of the Bachelor of Arts in Music is a music therapist. A music therapist uses musical exercises to work with a variety of individuals in a rehabilitating setting. These individuals usually work in mental health centers, hospitals, retirement homes, or rehabilitation centers. Their responsibilities usually consist of working in a team to assess a patient’s mental or physical condition and developing a therapeutic treatment plan.

Composer

Becoming a composer is another career option for BA in Music holders. Composers create music for a variety of uses, including writing music for performers, advertising, or films and television. Composers face stiff competition in the industry and it can be hard to get started in this career path. Successful composers will have an expert knowledge of music theory.

Music Journalist

Music journalists often hold Bachelor of Arts in Music degrees. Most of their work day is spent reporting on music news, reviewing albums and shows, interviewing musicians, and writing critical pieces. Music journalists work for media outlets across the print, online, and broadcast channels. Music journalists can advance into an editor role with years of experience.

Bachelor of Science in Music

Music Producer

One of the most common career choices for holders of a BS in Music is becoming a music producer. Producers oversee the development of songs and ensure that both the musicians’ and investors’ visions for the song are fulfilled. Producers have a mix of technical and management duties. Producers operate soundboards and use software to edit sound as well as coordinate studio time and hire sound engineers.

Sound Engineer

The Bachelor of Science in Music can allow you to pursue a career as a sound engineer. Sound engineers are responsible for operating the audio equipment that is used in music, television, film, and studio recording. These individuals are tasked with ensuring consistent quality of the audio production. Job opportunities for sound engineers include working in a post-production capacity, dialogue syncing, and converting recordings.

Music Manager

Another possible career path for associate’s degree holders is to become a music manager. A music manager is responsible for managing the business side of an artist or band. The main goal of the artist manager is to advance their clients musical careers while allowing them to focus on music. Day-to-day tasks can include planning concerts and tours, engaging with fans, and securing radio airplay. It is important for music managers to have a wealth of knowledge in the music industry as well as business expertise.

Bachelor of Music Education

School Music Teacher

A degree in music education allows graduates to teach music in a classroom setting. There are music teachers at all levels of education, from preschool to the collegiate level. Successful music teachers are able to blend extensive knowledge of music theory and instruments with the ability to connect with students in a classroom setting. Typically a master’s degree in music education can aid in career advancement for music teachers.

Private Music Teacher

Many music education graduates also teach privately, whether full time or as a way to supplement their income. These teachers teach everything from the fundamentals to advanced music theory. Whereas school music teachers have a structured curriculum, private music teachers are free to customize their lessons to cater to their student’s interests and strengths.

Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Fine Arts

Professional Musician

The primary career path for Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music graduates is to become a professional musician. Some musicians work as solo acts while most perform as a part of a band, orchestra or choir. In addition to performances, professional musicians need to rehearse, practice, and audition frequently.

Conductor

Many professional musicians eventually advance into the conductor role. Conductors lead musical ensembles in both rehearsals and live performances. In addition to leading the ensemble, conductors also have administrative duties such as working with a board of directors, managing a budget, and managing musicians. Though only a bachelor’s degree is required, most conductors hold a master’s degree.

There are many different careers in music, each with a different set of skills required for the position. The music industry is one of the most competitive industries today, so it’s important to find your passion, choose the right degree and decide on a career you’re most passionate about.


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