Individuals looking for a career in the music industry should have a background in playing instruments. Formal education is not a requirement for musician training programs, but hands-on training is recommended in order to gain experience and sharpen skills quickly.
When it comes to formal education, many schools offer associate's and bachelor's degrees in music. These programs prepare students to work in many different sectors, including the music industry, entertainment and marketing avenues. Some schools may offer online classes for musician training programs.
Associate of Arts in Music
An associate's degree program in music prepares students to work as musicians with music groups, choirs, symphonies or music production companies. Coursework allows students to practice instrumental music and read complex music and music literature. Students learn to apply musical theories to all types of music, including jazz, rock and classical music. Typical courses include:
- Music theory
- Music composition and production
- Ear training
- Instrumental instruction
- Music history
Bachelor of Arts in Music
A bachelor's degree program in music provides advanced coursework in musical theory, composition, production and conducting. Students learn to play various instruments and, if desired, take vocal training courses. A bachelor's degree program in music may include courses on:
- Advanced musical composition
- Classical music training
- Physics of music
- Applied vocal training
- Music literature
Popular Career Options
As employment opportunities in the music industry can be inconsistent, many musicians seek part-time jobs in other industries. Musicians have to submit demos or perform auditions to obtain work, and competition is high. Individuals in the music business must also have the physical strength needed to routinely perform on stage. Some job options for individuals with a degree in music include songwriter, music producer, background singer, session singer, composer, sound designer and show band member, just to name a few.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
As of May 2015, musicians and singers make a median hourly wage of $24.20, according to the BLS. The BLS also states that the job growth in this industry from 2014-2024 is expected to be 3%, which is slower than the average for all occupations.
Students interested in becoming musicians may not need any formal education, if they have the right skills and talent. With that said, associate's and bachelor's degree programs in music may provide greater opportunities and help prepare students for work in the music, entertainment and marketing industries.