Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What can you do with a music degree?

When I was in high school, I decided not to major in music.  I knew I didn't want to be a band director, and someone had told me you had to practice 6 hours a day to get into an orchestra, so I didn't think I had either the discipline nor the skill to win an orchestral job. And so that was that, because I had no idea what else you could possibly do to earn a living as a musician! Thankfully, I loved playing the flute too much to quit, so with some support from my flute professor, who was willing to teach me as a non-major, and a strong desire to be happy, I signed back on to music in October of my freshman year in college. Fast forward 26 (?!) years, and I am thrilled to be not only a very busy flutist and teacher, but a career coach to musicians and in the midst of creating an entrepreneurship program for the music department where I teach at University of Wyoming. But before adults ever get to the point where they're asking for career advice from me, they have to survive high school and trust that music is the right major, even if they don't know yet exactly what they'll pursue after graduation.

I am diametrically opposed to twisting arms--if you can possibly stand to walk away from music, then maybe you should. It's a ton of work for very little appreciation and a slow-growing pay scale, so if you aren't completely obsessed, you'll be happier doing something easier/more respected/higher paying. But for students of any age who feel torn between their great love of music and their fear or living in their parents' basement after school, let's just take a quick look at this in-no-way-complete list of job opportunities:

Freelance: conductor, orchestral musician, $chamber musician, $soloist, $clinician, pit musician, recording artist, accompanist
Cruise ship musician
Church musician
Full-time orchestral (symphony, opera, ballet, musical theater) musician
$Private studio owner/teacher
😁Early childhood music practitioner
$Community music school director/administrator/teacher
😁Music teacher in the public schools
College professor
$Instrument repair
$😁Instrument sales
Commercial music (composing, recording, marketing)
$Audio engineer
Theater technician
$😁Artist management
Grant writer
Arts Administrator: ensemble executive director, non-profit organizer, festival director, marketers, πŸ˜development directors, etc.
$Arts lawyer
$Artist accountant
$Arts journalist
Yoga, meditation, performance psychology, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, music therapy

$Opportunities to run your own business
😁Great avenues for the more socially inclined

Non-musician careers who favor artist education background: Computer programmer, doctor, banker, pharmacist, clinical psychologist, engineer

**What am I missing, friends? Chime in below and help make this list more complete!

1 comment:

  1. I remember having this conversation with you even when I was finishing my degree in music ed. Thanks for showing everyone what else it out there.