The Pros and Cons of Music Degrees

Many students are told to follow their passions and go to university. But is that true for music degrees? We found out.

Studying for many individuals is an important part of their development. 

From Engineering to Psychology, there are many different areas of study that interest many people. 

If you are a musician deciding what to study, as you further embark on the journey of higher education, then you may well have already contemplated the idea of studying music or not. 

Studying music in a university is important for various reasons. Regardless of the area of music you are considering, there is a wide range of musical studies. 

From music production to the historical sounds of opera, obtaining a degree in music can be exciting! 

However, many stigmas come with deciding to focus on music studies as a degree. It is important to understand the various implications of receiving a music degree and its varying aftermaths. 

 

Pros of a Music Degree 

The first question to ask a musician as they decide to pursue a music degree is “what do you want to do with music? 

“Does the musician want to rock the MTV stage, make beats that play all over the world through radio, or does the musician want to teach music in public or private school systems?” 

Like many other fields of degrees from universities, studying music can lead to many employment avenues. 

The purpose of obtaining a music degree surrounds developing well-rounded musicians to seek future good-paying jobs. 

Common music degrees from many international colleges and universities can’t further a career in areas such as: 

  1. Music Performance 
  2. Music Education 
  3. Music Theory 
  4. Musicology 
  5. Film Scoring 
  6. Sound Technician 
  7. Songwriter 
  8. Vocal Coaching 
  9. Accompanist 
  10. Choral Directing 

Making It Big

Similar to any other higher learning environment endeavour, music degrees follow the academic levels associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Varying degrees cater to specific musical interests. 

For example, a piano player could further their studies at a university to fully become a professional accompanist as a long-standing career. 

Similar to a historian, if music history is of interest to an aspiring musician, studying a focused degree in musicology can create a prominent career in music studies. 

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Degrees Of Concern: There are many pros and concerns to doing music degrees

Most music degrees include courses such as music theory, music history, singing and ear training, psychology, and education as an academic standard.

However, musicians do not have to follow the higher learning structure. 

Musicians with a focus on performance could obtain an artist certificate. 

According to JoshuaRossPiano.com, performance/artist programs are similar to a music degree, but there is a much higher focus on performance than logistics. 

Additionally, musicians in these programs frequently perform in a chamber (choir) and solo setting. 

 

Cons of a Music Degree 

A favoured mentality of many musicians is that a music degree is not entirely necessary. 

This notion is true especially for musicians that prefer performance careers. Music acts such as rap artists, beat-makers, and talent scouting may find knowledge from degrees helpful but not necessary. 

While a music degree is a way to create job security and performance opportunities, music degrees have various disadvantages. Like many universities, obtaining a music degree can be very expensive. 

Scholarships are scarce as opportunities rapidly grow in competitiveness. Additionally, certain music coursework and music classes are not recognised by every institution. 

Music degrees operate differently than other university degrees. Through subjective lenses, it can be difficult to find academic consistency from one university to the other. 

Some universities such as Julliard and New England Conservatory may create a more rigorous, intense, exclusive, performance-driven degree which creates higher levels of competition. 

Studying a music degree can indeed create further networking and collaboration opportunities, however, many musicians that study music graduate with a lack of knowledge surrounding various marketing, advertising, and business structures.

From an artist’s perspective, I was eager to continue my music studies after high school, in a university. 

I came to my individualised realisation that I would rather study business to apply business skills to my growing artistic brand. Today, I still stand by my decision, as I end my Bachelor’s program in International Business. 

So, is a music degree worth it? The answer depends on the individual and their drive to achieve musical excellence. In my humble opinion, a music degree is worth it if being a musician is what one loves. Music degrees are distinguishing proper achievements essential for employment in the music industry as well as building a well-rounded musician. 


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