9 Careers for Music Majors
Many students decide to pursue a music degree because of passion. They love to play, listen to, and think about music—so why not study it?
What they don't always think about is what they'll do after they graduate. Will they start a band? Work at a recording studio? Find a job at a music festival?
Luckily, music degrees can open up fascinating professional opportunities. Over the course of their studies, students in this major gain knowledge in subjects such as music theory, composition, music history, and large ensemble performance. They receive hands-on training in at least one instrument and develop their ability to distinguish tone and pitch.
But music students also gain important transferrable skills in communication, teamwork, self-management, planning, and critical reflection. They learn to memorize and concentrate more effectively and perform under pressure. Together, these qualities set them up for success in a wide range of careers—both within the music industry and beyond.
This article will be covering the following careers:
|Career||Avg Salary||Satisfaction||Your Match|
|Sound Engineering Technician||$51k||3.4/5|
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1. Session Musician
Session or "studio" musicians are hired to play with other performers in live or recorded sessions. While they aren't permanent members of the band, they can end up staying with a group for months on end. Others simply contribute to a single album track. Either way, it's an exciting way for music majors to do what they love best: play!
2. Music Arranger
Music arrangers play a key role in the music industry. These skilled professionals take the blueprints for songs and transform them into finished masterpieces. They work for performers, bands, music directors, or producers. Building on a simple melody, they add different instruments, change the key to tempo, or alter the time signature until everything sounds just right.
A music arranger arranges pieces of music for music directors, music producers, conductors, performers, or a single performer.
3. Choir Director
Choir directors help singers and musicians of all kinds hone their live performance skills. Some work with children who are just learning the ropes. Others help advanced choristers prepare for international championships. Whatever the specifics, this job is social, collaborative, and, of course, musical—a natural fit for a music major.
A choir director is someone who conducts and leads a choir.
4. Talent Agent
Being a great performer is one thing. Knowing how to spot one is a whole other challenge. Talent agents seek out skilled musicians and work with them to develop their careers. They help them find and prepare for auditions, build up their portfolios, and get hired for live and recorded performances. With their ear for great talent, music majors can thrive in this role.
Do you love business and also have a passion for the arts?
Any movie, TV show, or video game has a talented composer behind it. These professional musicians develop original scores and sound tracks of all kinds. Using different instruments and digital sound equipment, they craft music to illicit emotion, build tension, and complement whatever is happening on screen.
Do you have a good ear for music?
6. Sound Engineering Technician
Sound technicians work at theatres, festivals, studios, and other musical spaces. They record live performances of all kinds, playing with audio levels and effects to produce the best sound quality possible. Requiring an ear for great music and excellent technical knowledge, this can be a rewarding career for a music graduate.
Sound Engineering Technician
A sound engineering technician sets up, operates, and maintains the electrical equipment for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies.
7. Music Therapist
Anyone who's ever fallen asleep to the sound of a piano knows how soothing music can be. Music therapists take advantage of this powerful quality to help patients overcome a range of emotional and psychological issues. This job involves singing, listening, and talking about music—all while improving other people's lives. What more could a music major ask for?
A music therapist is part of an employment subgroup of creative arts therapists who use the arts to treat mental illness, provide support for individuals with disabilities, and to promote wellness and personal growth and creativity.
8. Event Planner
During their degree, music students learn to prepare, plan, and perform under stressful conditions. With this training under their belt, they can excel in the event world. Event planners organize gatherings of all kinds—booking venues, arranging live entertainment, coordinating technical equipment, managing budgets, and more.
Do you love organizing events and parties for your family and friends?
9. Music Teacher
One of the most common careers for a music graduate, teaching music can be both rewarding and fulfilling work. In this challenging role, music majors help others discover the magic of melody and harmony. They might offer one-on-one lessons, provide group tutoring, or oversee an entire high school music class.
Do you have a passion for music and want to share it with others?
10. Music Producer
Music producers are the great coordinators behind any album, EP, or mixtape. They manage all aspects of the recording, mastering, and mixing process. This can involve many tasks, including booking studio space, hiring backup musicians and arrangers, and providing creative direction to the musicians themselves. For anyone who loves working with music, this can be a dream job.