What can I do with a music degree?

Many college students express an interest in studying music in college but are often unsure about what they would do with a degree in music. While there are many direct paths one can take with a music degree – think music teacher, performer, music therapist, composer, etc., – there are also other career options you can explore. In order to identify career options with a degree in music, first consider the transferable skills you gain through this major. Here are just a few: 

  1. Creative problem solving skills: Composing, improvising, and thinking on your feet when facing a challenge during a live performance provide you with opportunities to develop your creative abilities. 
  2. Time management: You are managing classes, rehearsal schedules, practice, lessons, part-time jobs…the list goes on! Being a music major means juggling multiple commitments.
  3. Collaboration with others: Being part of any musical ensemble involves listening to others, compromise, and setting shared goals, not to mention what it takes to find a common time when you can all rehearse! 

These are just a few of the many skills you can gain by studying music and they are applicable to many career options connected to music and the arts. Here are a few options you can explore: 

  • Arts administrator/Arts management
  • College music admissions director 
  • Concert manager/promoter 
  • Entertainment lawyer
  • Media Development
  • Marketing
  • Music licensing 
  • Personnel manager (orchestras, shows)
  • Sound design

There are many ways to explore your career options with a music degree. First, find people who are in positions you want to learn more about. Maybe they studied music too and have found themselves in a career path that interests you. Set up a time to conduct an informational interview. An informational interview is when you interview someone about their career path. It’s a great way to learn more about what that job or career path is actually like. Binghamton alumni are great resources for this type of information. There are several ways you can find alumni to interview. First, talk to faculty members to see if they would recommend a former student who might be a good fit for your interests. You can also find alumni mentors using Mentor Match, Binghamton’s online alumni mentoring platform. Finally, LinkedIn is always a great resource for making connections. Search for alumni using the alumni tool on the Binghamton University LinkedIn page. 

If you have any questions about pursuing a career in music or other areas of the arts, schedule an appointment with a career consultant from the Fleishman Center. You can schedule online through hireBING

Sources: The College Music Society, The National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), Majoringinmusic.com

By Erica Kryst
Erica Kryst Senior Associate Director, Career Experiences and Education Erica Kryst