Enrich Your Soul and Career with a Degree in Music
Achievement of a degree in music not only develops your talents and enriches your soul, but can also open numerous professional doors. A music curriculum is rigorous, requiring you to excel in your chosen instrument or vocal technique, as well as aspects of theory, performance, and production.
Naturally, those earning a degree in music may decide to pursue a career as a professional musician. For others, a music education can serve as a necessary foundation for a career in the music industry more generally. Finally, music majors are likely to excel in careers at arts and cultural institutions.
Music is a broad major that has a few distinct subcategories. Universities may have a wide range of majors depending on the makeup of their program and faculty. However, most music programs will encompass aspects of the following branches:
- Music Performance: Performance is the primary craft of musicians. Being able to perform for an audience or within a studio is of utmost importance.
- Music Theory: Music theory is the study of the building blocks of music itself. You’ll train your ears and eyes to understand music at its most abstract and structural level.
- Composition: This field includes the process of writing and arranging music.
- Production: Good music production can elevate an artist to new heights. This field is focused on honing the processes of recording, mixing, and other technical aspects of the production and publishing process.
Whatever your interest, students who plan to pursue careers in these fields will need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in music, music theater, music education, music history, music technology, or music theory and composition. Such programs include a wide range of related subjects, and music majors may specialize in vocal or choral music or instrumental music. Courses may include:
- Music theory
- Applied music
- Major ensemble
- Keyboard skills
- Recital attendance
- Music history
- Applied music composition
- Music theater ensemble
- Jazz studies
- Classical guitar
Careers in Music
A degree in music can lead you to a surprising variety of careers, including:
- Artistic director or manager
- Music director
- Radio programmer
- Music critic
- Sound engineer
- Music teacher
- Music professor
- Production assistant
- Music therapist
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How To Prepare for Success
Music majors should have proficiency in at least one instrument, strong vocal abilities, or both. Hiring a private coach can be valuable in developing and honing these skills. You should also have the ability to read music. However, it’s helpful to have a mix of other capabilities, such as creativity, collaboration, time management, and an intuitive grasp of musical patterns.
UNCF Schools To Consider
Twenty-one UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the field of music, including:
- Clark Atlanta University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Spelman College
- Claflin University
- Johnson C. Smith University
- Virginia Union University
- Florida Memorial University
- Bethune Cookman University
- Oakwood University
There are many organizations in various fields of music that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:
- American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
- Music Business Association (Music biz)
- American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
- Americana Music Association
- American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
- American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)
- Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
- National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP)
- National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in music than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for music majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements.
Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study music.
As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in music. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!