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What Can You Do With A Master's IN Music?

There are several different career options for those who earn a master's degree in music, ranging from performing to teaching. Explore some possible careers that utilize this degree, as well as their median salaries and expected job growth.

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A master's degree in music can help you excel in various careers in the music and entertainment industry, as well as in other fields like education. Here we discuss some of the career options for those who graduate with a master's degree in music.

Careers for Those with a Master's in Music

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Music Directors $40,955** 3% (for all music directors and composers)
Composers $58,555** 3% (for all music directors and composers)
Musicians and Singers $25.14 hourly 3%
Postsecondary Music Teachers $68,650 (for all postsecondary music, art and drama teachers) 11% (for all postsecondary music, art and drama teachers)
High School Music Teachers $58,030 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Jazz
  • Music Composition and Theory
  • Music History and Literature
  • Music Merchandising and Management
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Career Descriptions

Music Directors

A master's degree in music helps prepare a music director, or conductor, to lead different musical groups during performances. Music directors practice signaling and conducting their choirs, orchestras or bands to prepare for live or recorded performances. They are also responsible for auditioning new performers and choosing soloists for performances. Some music directors may be involved in fundraising efforts for their musical group.

Composers

Composers could use their master's degree in music to write and create music for musical groups. Although a master's degree is not usually required for composers, those who choose to specialize in composing classical music do need a master's. Composers may also study different kinds of music to get ideas for their projects, or rearrange existing music to make a new piece. They are also the ones who create original music and scores for movies or television shows.

Musicians and Singers

A master's degree in music is not required to be a musician or singer, but many choose to pursue one to further develop their skills. These artists may specialize in performing a particular type of style, like jazz, rock, country, hip-hop or classical with their instruments and/or voices. Some may have the opportunity to record their music in a recording studio, or they may travel for live performances at different venues. They often need to practice extensively in order to deliver the best performance possible, and they could be required to audition for particular performance opportunities or positions in musical groups.

Postsecondary Music Teachers

Although many postsecondary teachers need a Ph.D., some institutions may only require a master's degree to teach students in their area of expertise, especially in the fine arts. Music teachers at this level are responsible for teaching courses in their particular specialty, whether it be singing, music theory or playing a particular instrument. This requires them to plan their curriculum, design assignments and grade assessments. Postsecondary teachers may be asked to conduct research in their field and serve on various committees for the institution.

High School Music Teachers

High school music teachers may be required to hold a master's degree in some states, and those who teach music are no exception. High school music teachers may be hired to teach band, choir, orchestra or studies in a particular instrument. They prepare their lessons, assignments and assessments to challenge students and help them improve their skills. As a high school faculty member, they are likely to have additional responsibilities, such as communicating with parents and monitoring students' activities during free time.

Several jobs in the fields of entertainment and education require or utilize the knowledge obtained through a master's in music. Whether performing, conducting, writing or teaching music, graduates with a master's in music can use their advanced skills in the field to further their career.

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