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What can be done with a Music Degree?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bareass, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. title edited:

    hey all,

    a while back i turned down a scholarship to wayne state's jazz performance program. I decided instead to enter ino the technical field, and have been regretting it.

    I'm now 24 years old, and looking for a career change.

    How many of you have your degree in music? what do you do now? if you could go back, would you still take the music degree?

    as for my background, i have a diploma as an elctrical technician, and another as a mechanical technologist.

    thank you very much!
  2. any help would be great guys!
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    I will let you know when my wife's $50,000 fine art degree pays off. :rollno:

    My guess is teach, or just use the fact to you have a degree to get into some government work. That usually don't care about what you have a degree in just you have a degree. At least the branch I work for anyway.

    Moral: don't major in a hobby you like unless you plan on being a teacher in said hobby.
  4. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    BERKLEE | BERKLEE | Careers in Music there's actually some cool things. It isn't the degree that allows you to do most of these jobs, but the knowledge you will have aquired in getting a music degree. Each of the links on this page has several more specific jobs in that field.
  5. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    Used to be that you could teach.
    But now that schools have almost all cut the music budgets about the only thing that you can do is hang it on the wall to remind yourself why you are mailing student loan checks every month.
  6. Goatee220

    Goatee220 Bassist/Photographer/Goalie Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Spring City, PA
    Would you be interested in combining the two? It sounds like an ideal background to work in R&D for a music/sound related company.
  7. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Teach....college. My buddy got a BA in music performance. Couldn't do much with it. Got a masters in music education. Taught college and now high school. Not sure how the music therapist market is, but combining music with health care seems like a winner to me.
  8. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010
    IMO, you made the right move dude.
    I coach football, but if I would've gotten a degree in coaching football I'd probably be looking for work.
  9. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Education just isn't worth it anymore what with rising tuition and costs coupled with so few job prospects.

    I suppose there are exceptions in a few fields such as medical and perhaps law, but music I doubt is one of them.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    The first statement is absolutely wrong. Education does pay, and there are plenty of stats to show that your income and earning power are higher with a degree. Obviously, some degrees are in fields with average salaries higher than those in other fields.

    But without a college degree today, you'd better be in a trade or have skills which lend themselves to employment that's NOT flipping burgers.

    Music is not a field that typically ends up in the higher income professions, but there's no reason not to get a degree in Music and Business, or Music and Computer Science, or some other combination which provides an employable skill base in addition to the knowledge of music.

    Let's not turn this into another "degree vs. no degree" thread, please.
  11. Broadstbully22


    Dec 5, 2011
    It's good for impressing people while you wait on them to take thier order. lol.
  12. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    i have a degree in music. i lead the music ministry in my church. it could be a career for me but i do it as a volunteer. i use many of the things I learned in music school to lead this ministry so the education has not been for naught.

    what else could i do with the degree? not sure, i never really pursued music careers. i minored in math/computers and ended up going that route.

    i don't think you can do a lot with it. couple it with another degree and perhaps it can give you an edge.

    I agree with the statement above.
  13. Middle-aged hindsight shows me that getting a degree,any degree, is really important. I smoked and drank myself out of college the first time. I joined the Army and 15 years later I went back to school. As a 36 year old student I had straight A's. I was more focused and mature.

    If I could do it all over again (and I don't want to) I would have majored in music and studied jazz in my undergrad. I would have tried my had at being a teacher/pro musician. If that didn't work out, then I'd have gone back to school for a masters in something else... like nursing.

    Instead, I'm 38 and I'm a paramedic student. I play music for fun... lots of fun. One good thing about playing music for fun is that I never have to take a gig I don't want or play with people I don't like. I play music on my terms, and only my terms.

    Just my .02
  14. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    If it's big enough , a fire ?

  15. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I'm 25. Graduated from Berklee. Taught for a while in Boston. When that dried up, had an offer to play for a great GB band. That fell through. That's when the s*** hit the fan for me. Had a couple medical setbacks (surgery and nerve problems put me out a total of about 8 months), played a couple contracts on cruise ships. Recorded/released my first album, looking to actually start my career a little late now.

    It's a crazy, crazy industry, and I'm not going to lie, I think about getting a technical education in something that gives you some job security. But music is the only thing I do well, so while I'm able to do it, I'm going to give it my best. I have money saved up and no debts, so I've got a lot of flexibility for a little while. At the same time though, I live in my parents' basement. Apartments in NYC are HARD AS HELL to find.

    The degree is basically worthless as a degree. What it does though is it puts you in a great networking environment you wouldn't get any other way. If you can get a full ride, do it. If not, the return on investment is a big crap shoot.
  16. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    But what I always wondered and been skeptical about, both with name-recognized musicians and with guys I've played with who only play for a living....are you going to gamble on Social Security being there at age 65, or have you started putting away for retirement/can you affford to start putting away for retirement? I mean, why would Loretta Lynn continue to play 500 seat theaters in Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin at aged 80-something? Because she has to is my thinking. But I don't know anything.
  17. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    PM sent.
  18. In my experience, one of the biggest misconceptions college students and recent grads have is that a degree will automatically do something for you - it generally won't. Truth is that nobody is sitting around waiting for anyone to come out with xyz degree. University education is worth it, but getting the degree is just the start - too many people don't get that and they just float into whatever job comes along (I was the same way until one day, I got the point).

    Instead of asking "what will the degree do for me", it is better to ask "what do I want to do" and then plot a course in that direction.
  19. This is sort of true. I think if you're entering a field that's not crazy damaged by the economy, then education is worth it. If not, then you need a specific plan and specific goals, and MOST importantly, contacts. This goes especially true for music. If you already have a good ear for music, can read fluently, and can make some good contacts, then a degree may not do much good for you for the price and time that you'd have to put in for it.

    As far as 'what' to do with a music degree, there's really no difference in your prospects (outside teaching), so long as you have skills and contacts. A degree in music can get you both.

    The main job fields that still have openings (apart from teaching) are corporate music gigs. If you can handle being on a cruise ship for 6 months, go for it. There's other live music gigs, too. Otherwise, there's still opportunities for selling songs for a range of things, like TV, commercials, during corporate sales events, for corporate training videos, website design, smart phone apps, etc., etc., etc.

    There are still opportunities out there, but the standard jobs of yore have shifted around, and you gotta have some business sense and think outside the box a bit to find and jump on those opportunities. Read hypebot.com or other industry blogs on a very regular and frequent basis, and you can get some great ideas.

    Getting a technical degree in most fields isn't worth what it was a few years ago, either. There's some huge volatility in many other industries, too. Anything construction-related, for example, is tough as all get out right now, and not looking much better in the future. Expect to flip burgers for a while with most engineering degrees, unless you intern and/or have good contacts before you graduate.

    The economy is worse then most people either realize or are willing to admit, IMHO. As such, job security is tough to come by these days in most industries. Contacts are really the key, and are more important now then ever.
  20. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    IMHO, it depends how good you are at your specific areas.

    If someone naturally excels and is good at adapting those skills, they can often go far even without degree's. If someone is mediocre or less, a degree can open doors for them.

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