Music

Main Content

banner 5 state
What can I do with this major?

Area

Employers

Strategies

Education

  • Teaching
  • Private Lessons

Daycare centers

Elementary and secondary schools

Private schools

Recreation centers

Colleges and universities

Conservatories

Studios

Self-employed

Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching. Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences. Graduate degree required to teach in higher education. Specialize in an area such as music, music theory, composition, music history, etc. Performance skill on one instrument or voice required. Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.

Performance

  • Instrumental
  • Vocal

Armed Forces bands and orchestras

Symphony orchestras

Small ensembles

Rock or jazz groups

Dance bands

Concert soloist

Clubs and restaurants

Church choirs

Community choral groups

Opera chorus or soloist

Musical theaters

Ballet productions

Recording industry

Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Develop musical talent and skill. Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music. Ambition and showmanship are important. Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts. Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition. Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers. Auditions are generally required.

Composing/ Arranging

  • Composing
    Arranging

Self-employed

Record companies

Publishers

Muzak

Motion picture and television industries

Production companies

Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important. Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers. Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise. Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary. Seek grants and awards through foundations. Very few musicians earn living through composing.

Conducting

Choirs

Choral groups

Symphonies

Opera

Armed Forces bands and orchestras

Develop superior musicianship and leadership. Acquire extensive experience in performing groups. Opportunities extremely limited. Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.

Music Therapy

Hospitals: general and psychiatric

Special education facilities

Mental health centers

Nursing homes

Correctional facilities

Private practice

Outpatient clinics

Take courses in psychology, social work, or education. Earn a master's degree in music therapy and seek certification. Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting. Must demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.

Music Libraries

Colleges and universities

Conservatories

Public libraries

Radio and television stations

Develop computer and research skills. Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology. Earn master's degree in library/information science.

Recording Industry

  • Publishing and Editing
  • Producing
  • Recording
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Promotion/Media Relations
  • Publicity
  • Administration
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Product Management

Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)

Complete an internship at a record company. Take business courses to work in management or administration. Journalism, public relations, and communication classes helpful for work in areas of promotion. Gain sales experience for marketing. Must interact well with people and develop persuasion tools. Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production. Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station. Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus. Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.

Communications

  • Music and Program Direction
  • On Air Performance
  • Promotion
  • Voice Overs
  • Copyright/Clearance Administration
  • Music License Administration
  • Music Editing, Production, and Composing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Post Production
  • Research

Radio and television stations 

Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators

Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism. Work at on-campus radio station. Complete an internship at a television or radio station.

Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.

Miscellaneous

  • Sales
  • Music Journalism
  • Law

Music shops

Record stores

Instrument manufacturers

Music-related publications

Magazines and newspapers

Entertainment law firms

Music shops

Record stores

Instrument manufacturers

Music-related publications

Magazines and newspapers

Entertainment law firms

Strategies for placement in Music

  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perseverance is required!
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multitalented."
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success.
  • Need basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Gain experience working for a music publisher or other businesses in the entertainment industry.
  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.

Links

American Federation of Musicians
Women in Music National Network 
Music Business Solutions  
American Music Therapy Association 
Solo Performer Music Careers