When considering a music degree, you’ll hear a lot of negative comments about your prospective major. Some people may ask you how you plan to earn a decent living with a bachelor’s in music credential, for instance, or whether you think you’ll be able to get a “real” job. You probably won’t hear enough about all of the personal and professional benefits of studying music in college. To level the playing field a bit, we offer you the following ten awesome reasons to choose a music major.
1. You’ll Do What You Love (And You’ll Do It A lot!)
Most undergraduate music students select the major because music is what they love most. Some music majors even report that the discipline chose them, as opposed to the other way around. If you’re considering studying music because it’s something you’re passionate about, then you’ll be glad to hear that music majors spend a lot of time practicing their craft. Yes, you’ll have to also fulfill general education requirements, but for the most part, you’ll be playing your instrument, learning about music history and theory, and performing for your professors and classmates. When you turn your hobby into your major, and eventually your career, you’ll find you get a lot more enjoyment out of your studies and one day, your work!
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2. There Are Myriad Career Opportunities
Many would-be music majors put down their instruments and opt for a “more practical” academic discipline because they mistakenly think their career choices with a music degree will be too limited after graduation. Rest assured that you won’t be confined to music education or performance jobs as a graduate of a bachelor’s degree in music program, though. Instead, a degree in music can open many doors of opportunity in various industries and sub-fields. For example, you can specialize your studies to prepare for careers in music therapy, music management, or music engineering technology.
As music technology evolves, you can expect new job opportunities to arise as well. Some schools even offer music technology concentrations for students who wish to marry their technical and musical skills. As an added benefit, music careers requiring high-tech skills usually pay better than traditional music occupations.
3. Options for Music Degrees Abound!
Since we’re talking opportunities, it’s important to note that there are so many different music degree options at the undergraduate level that it might be difficult to choose just one. Here are just a few examples:
- Bachelor of Arts in Music
- Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy
- Bachelor of Music in Performance
- Bachelor of Music in Composition
- Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Plus, within this range of degrees, you’ll likely have the option to further specialize your music studies by choosing a concentration or area of emphasis. Specializing in a highly specific sub-discipline of music can help you hone your skills in this area and make you more employable after graduation.
4. You’ll Make A Good Living
There’s a common misconception that all music majors end up starving artists. In fact, the fear of failing to make enough money to live a comfortable life deters many students from pursuing their dreams of studying music at the college level. The truth is that professionals with a Bachelor of Arts in Music make over $60,000 per year on average, according to PayScale. Granted, that’s not as much as some of the highest-paying majors (think business administration or computer science), but it’s far from poverty. That’s not to mention that study after scientific study has shown that there’s much more to happiness than just money. Plus, many music majors would choose their craft over a monetary reward any day of the week.
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5. It’s A Great Confidence-Builder
Have you noticed that the more confident people are, the more things tend to go their way? And it’s a perpetual cycle—the more things go your way, the more confident you become! With enough confidence, there’s almost nothing you can’t achieve. Music majors tend to become very confident people because they have a lot of experience performing in front of others. There’s simply no room for stage fright when you’re studying music as an academic discipline. Moreover, the confidence you gain from completing your undergraduate studies in music will translate to other areas of your life, not just your music career.
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6. You’ll Meet People
You could argue that any college degree program offers opportunities to meet like-minded people, especially on-campus offerings. Still, a music major brings people together like perhaps no other academic discipline. For one thing, making music with someone is a bonding experience that can lead to life-long collaborations and strong friendships. When you declare a major in music, you join a cohort of undergrads with similar interests and goals as well as common concerns about classes, performances, and of course, future careers.
Participating in ensembles and music clubs can increase the social opportunities you have as a music major, too. Colleges and universities with strong music departments usually offer several different student clubs and chapters of national music associations such as the Collegiate National Association for Music Education and the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, for example.
7. You’ll Learn About More than Just Your Instrument
Don’t get the wrong message—the bulk of your music instruction will likely be centered around perfecting your skills as a musician. However, that’s not all you’ll learn in a music degree program. One of the strengths of a bachelor’s degree program in music is its breadth. That is to say that as a music major, you’ll learn practically everything there is to know about the discipline, including music history, music theory, and the music industry. You’ll even learn about how to write about music (even if you don’t decide to pursue a career as a music critic or journalist!).
8. It’s Affordable
Or, it can be anyway. If your dream is to attend Julliard or one of the other distinguished conservatories of music in the U.S., then you can plan on paying a pretty penny. It’s important to note that there are plenty of other, more affordable options when it comes to getting a degree in music, though. Some public universities have first-rate music programs associated with tuition expenses of between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. Don’t forget that financial aid is always an option, as well. In addition to grants and loans, there are many scholarships for undergraduate students, including those specifically allocated for music majors.
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9. There Are Advancement Opportunities
Moving up the career ladder is a definite possibility with a bachelor’s degree in music. Plus, the more experience you have under your belt, the more advancement opportunities you’ll have. These options for upward mobility may include leadership roles in your current occupation. For example, as a music teacher, you could be promoted to department chair or music program director. These advancements often come with a raise in pay, but keep in mind that they usually come with additional responsibilities. For instance, with the example provided, you will be responsible for teaching your pupils, supervising other music teachers, and/or developing curricula for music courses.
10. It Will Prepare You for Graduate School
Speaking of advancement, a major in music can also provide you with a solid foundation for graduate school. Should you decide to pursue a master’s degree in music or even a doctorate, you’ll already have a strong grasp of the fundamental skills in your discipline. Most bachelor’s degree programs in music also include a strong liberal arts foundation, so they could also be good stepping stones to graduate programs in other fields such as religious studies, counseling, or history.
While some critics of music degrees ponder whether or not the credential is even worth it, graduates of music programs often report the experience of earning a bachelor’s degree in music as one of the most fulfilling of their lifetimes. The bottom line is that if you love music, you’ll probably love studying music. Plus, there are so many more benefits of earning a music degree than just going to work and getting a paycheck at the end of the week. In fact, this desire for something more satisfying in life is precisely what propels most music majors forward in the first place!
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