So, What Can You Do With A Music Degree?

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Piper MusicWhen a student decides that they want to pursue a degree in music they often aren’t aware of what types of jobs they are qualified for when they complete the degree program.  The truth is that the music degree qualifies their degree holders for a multitude of job opportunities that can vary by the specific type of music degree obtained. 

There are many types of music degrees and some of the Colleges and Universities offer very specific concentrations with regard to a music discipline or sub-discipline.  Most Colleges/Universities offering music curriculums will classify their music program offerings into one or more of the following music degree programs:

Music Business (Music Industry)
Music Education (Music Pedagogy)
Music History (Musicology)
Music Performance
Music Production (Music Technology)
Music Religion (Church Music)
Music Theory (Music Composition)
Music Therapy

Music Business -Any person possessing a degree in Music Business has all the education and training that they need to apply for a job in any BUSINESS related field but, specializes in the music/media related business arena.

Music Business careers/jobs:

Advertising Specialist           

Booking Agent, Talent Agent, Casting

Copyright Specialist/Music Attorney or law-related -A specialist with regard to copyright and/or music litigation matters (advanced law degrees will be required to become a lawyer and various other professional requirements such as becoming a paralegal will required for law-related opportunities).


        Traditional Music Stores

        Electronic Music Stores

         Any music (or non-music) related store or business

Music Librarian:

        Librarian for large scale ensembles and music houses

Music Publishing Companies:

         Sales, Organization, P.R., Marketing, Business Management, etc.

Music Industry (Business)  -Those that possess a degree related to the music industry (many times these degrees are a hybrid with music business) are able to look for jobs within the music industry field.

Music Industry (business) careers/jobs:

 Artist Managing/Management:
             Groups, Ensembles, Personal

Artists & Repertoire (A&R):

           A&R Scouting- Listen to and find new artists and songs
           A&R Management – Sign and negotiate new nands and deals
          A&R Executives- Label owners and policy makers

Music Performance Promotion:

          Live Concerts (Symphonies, Operas, Musicals, Bands, Groups, etc.)
          Radio/Television/Internet Sales

Music Related Business Research (Sales, Trends, Markets, etc.)

Internet based music distribution companies:

             Jobs with Naxos, Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody,, etc.

Music Education -While all public school jobs (in the U.S.) require a formal music education degree and college teaching jobs require at least a master’s degree, there are many career paths to choose from as an educator of music.

Music Education careers/jobs:

Church Related Ministries (many schools offer a Music Religion Degree):

           Church-related Music Educator

           Church Ensemble Director

           Minister of Music

           Missionary Work

           Youth Pastor

Music Consultant

Private School Teacher

Private School Administrator (often requires advanced degrees)

Public School Teacher (requires state certification): Pre-K through 12th grade

Public School Administrator (often requires advanced degrees)

Music or Fine Arts Dean (requires a terminal degree)

College Professor (often requires a terminal degree):

             Music Business
             Music Composition
             Music Education
             Music History (Musicology, Ethnomusicology, etc.)
             Music Industry
             Music Performance (adjunct or otherwise)
             Music Production (electronic or otherwise)
             Music Technology
             Music Theory

Private Studio Teacher (small, group, online)

Music Performance Degree –a degree program that concentrates on making you a better performer.  While many will argue that best performer will get the job regardless of any degree(s), the entire purpose of getting a Music Performance Degree is to develop you into THE BEST PERFORMER that you can be.

With this degree you will compete with any-and-all for a chance to perform all types of music:

Recorded Venues (Video, Film, Commercials, etc.)

Become a teacher in your chosen instrument or voice:

    Private, Public (with a music education degree), College/University, etc.

Music Production/Engineering –Degrees and specializations in this area allow individuals to work in the recording/media side of the music industry:

Acousticians/Acoustic Consultants: Work with builders and other specialists to determine/design the sound field properties of a given room or area

Audio Engineer:  Work with the recording of music: microphone placement, mixing, re-mixing, etc. 

Audio Producers: Usually have oversight of the entire recording process for any given recording session

Audio Technicians (assistants): Work side-by-side with the audio engineers

Electronic Engineer/Computer Engineer Sound Specialists:  These positions will require degrees in mechanical/electrical/computer engineering and get to develop and work with the latest music production technology equipment and gear

Multimedia Specialist/Developer: Work with the digitization of recorded media for anything from internet usage to video and film usage

Post Production Sound Engineer: A specific type of sound engineer that works with sound recordings after the recording process is finished

Software Designer: Design software with regard to the various music applications and music related computer needs (degrees and/or proficiency in computer programming will also be required)

Teach music related technology programs/courses at the private, public, or College/University level with the appropriate degrees

Music Theory/Composition –Arrange, Analyze, Compose, Edit, Orchestrate, and Transcribe Music:

    Ensembles and individuals
    Video Games

Teacher or Professor of Music Theory or Composition

Music Therapy -This type of degree is required for working within the medical health profession with regard to the various medical conditions of individuals.  Employment in many of the related music therapy areas often require additional certifications or registrations.

Music Therapists are employed in the following settings:

Alcohol/Drug Rehab Centers
Correctional facilities
Geriatric facilities
Group homes
Mental Health centers/institutions
Nursing Homes
Universities and Colleges

Related Music Careers (any degree):

Disc Jokey
Instrumental Repair (some schools offer degrees or certifications in Music Repair)
Piano Tuner (a great “ear” and likely…additional professional training/certifications)
Music Critic
Music Historian (usually requires advanced degrees in Music History/Musicology)
Music Journalist or Publicist (may require advanced education in writing/journalism, etc.)
Instrument Design (most likely you will need an acoustics/engineering background for this one!)

While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, it certainly provides a good survey of the opportunities available for those seeking or having a music degree.  


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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018.  As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.

He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association,  a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website

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