Subject Guide

Music Degree

Uni Compare  · Oct 5th 2020

Music goes hand in hand with contemporary culture and our everyday lives, from the technology that we use today to the digital culture that surrounds us.


When you graduate with a music degree or a music production degree and begin searching for your ideal job, you’ll want to make sure you choose a career that hits the right note. There are dozens of music degree jobs: some involve making music and being hands-on with instruments or mixing desks all day, whilst others are a step outside that, more like music appreciation, working tirelessly to bring music to the masses.

Let’s begin on the outside with some of those music-appreciation roles, and in the next section (‘What can you do with a music degree?’) we’ll look at some of the music-making roles.

Music degree

What to do with a music degree

Graduates with a pure music degree UK or a music business degree will have a strong understanding of the value of music, and with a decent level of communication skills, would be ideally placed to take on a role such as community arts worker, arts administrator, event manager, music marketing executive or band manager/publicist.

Music and business qualifications would also combine well for anyone wanting to set up their own music or instrument shop.

Meanwhile, those with a strong technical skillset, perhaps graduates of a music production degree or music technology degree or a music tech degree, could consider becoming a broadcast assistant, broadcast engineer, radio producer, or theatre stage manager.

But what if you just can’t put down that trumpet or turntable? Let’s look at some of the even more hands-on music degree jobs out there…

What can you do with a music degree?

So what can I do with a music degree?

Almost everyone working on a music degree dreams someday of becoming a musician. It’s a highly competitive world, but there are a range of different types of musician job if you have the talent and drive. Session musicians record and perform with named artists on an ad hoc basis, offering flexibility, excitement and a different experience every day. Or perhaps you hope to be the recording artist themselves?

Additionally, composers write music for film, TV, radio, video games, and advertising, making it a really fun career opportunity. Plus, if you want to travel the world and perform to audiences, you could be a conductor or musician in an orchestra, sing at weddings or in casinos or cruise ships, or join a musical theatre company.

If tech is more your thing (you might have a music technology degree or a music production degree) then how about becoming a sound engineer? There are roles for different stages of the process: a recording engineer plans microphones, technical details and sound treatments for a recording; a mix engineer takes the recorded elements and works them into a single track; and a mastering engineer tweaks that blended audio to give each track its finished sound, reworking tracks to make a holistic sound for an album.

Graduates with a music therapy degree would be well prepared for the role of music therapist, and other music degree graduates who like the idea of helping others might consider private tuition, or gaining a teaching qualification to work in primary or secondary schools as a music specialist.

Music is more accessible and widespread than ever before, especially for a music production degree UK or a popular music degree. Beyond listening and performing music, people are involved more than we think as some find themselves, composing, recording, teaching, arranging, administering, marketing and reviewing music, and of course, some choose to study it.

There are over 1500 different instruments worldwide, and with this information, why wouldn’t you immerse yourself in studying this art form even if it’s with an online music degree or a music foundation degree or even a part time music degree?

Music graduates will hold a broad range of skills and these will be ideal for many music-related and non-music related professions.

What A Levels do I need?

The music degree entry requirements change every year.

The majority of universities prefer their students to hold music at A-level grade and have music theory and grade tests passed in at least one instrument (usually piano, keyboard or guitar).

Aside from this, there aren’t any other specific subjects prospective candidates need to acquire.

Institutions will ask for a variety of grades, with some places requesting AAB while others are asking for at least 280 UCAS tariff points. Students are advised to research their chosen universities and top course choices to ensure they understand what they need to achieve to get onto a degree programme successfully.

Music degree

What are my study options?

There are options to study music alone at university, although there are many degrees available where students can enrol onto a combined honours course, where students can study two subjects together.

Combined music degree courses UK work well with relatable subjects, such as a music performance degree, dance or technology or even a music production degree – which focuses more on studio techniques and recording, which is usually covered in your general bachelor degree in music.

Most music degree courses are three years unless students choose a sandwich course which involves a placement year where individuals can gain experience and spend a whole year working in the industry. This type of degree will have a mixture of coursework and practical assessments, including performance and written examinations.

Single-honours degrees tend to centre on music-related modules, and joint honours degree or a music masters degree in music allow students to study modules that may not be music-related.

However, some universities let students tailor their degree and choose their modules in the second and third years of the course, especially with a music composition degree or on a distance learning music degree.

Particular jobs with a music degree include; performers, academics, producers, music teachers, composers, publishers, administrators, lawyers or within marketing.

What should I expect from studying Music?

Music at degree level is ideal for individuals, whether it has been a long-term plan or something that they have recently discovered as a passion. Students will be surrounded by people who think similarly to them, who are also just as passionate.

It can be tough to motivate yourself to study this subject, as it isn’t necessarily required to obtain a formal qualification to gain employment, and some students may drop out of the course to pursue their dreams or to try and make it in the music world. Individuals need to be entirely sure that they want to study a degree in this area and to conduct a lot of research beforehand.

How will I be assessed?

Most modules will be taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials as well as students having to work on their skills independently, such as instruments, or recordings.

What skills will I learn from studying Music?

Though this degree will be challenging, it will allow individuals to develop skills related to critical and creative thinking, presentations, administration, archiving, technical skills related to their instrument/area of speciality.

Students who attend university will gain transferable skills that they can utilise through employment, experience and all aspects of their life, from organisation and time-management from working to deadlines, and social skills from working with others in group work projects and presentations.

Music degree

Why study Music?

A degree in music is ideal for those who are passionate and obsessed with music and want to develop their skills. It’s also ideal for those who want to study the history, techniques and culture surrounding music, even if you're studying a music management degree.

What happens after I graduate?

The opportunities are not limited to going in the ‘business’; some graduates can move into film and television, work on their music, work in theatre or the teams behind the construction of music. Teaching is also a possibility if graduates study a PGCE to achieve qualified teacher status, even with a music journalism degree.

The majority of universities prefer their students to hold music at A-level grade and have music theory and grade tests passed in at least one instrument.

Will it help me get a job?

Music graduates will hold a broad range of skills and these will be ideal for many music-related and non-music related professions. Individuals who hold passion will go far in their chosen careers with a music degree, even with an online music degree UK.

A music and psychology degree is a good way of becoming a counsellor or a psychiatrist as well, but it may require more formal qualifications.

What types of jobs can I get from studying Music?

Particular jobs with a music degree include; performers, academics, producers, music teachers, composers, publishers, administrators, lawyers or within marketing.

What can I study after Music?

Postgraduate degree opportunities, both research and taught programmes include specialised areas such as; production, musicology, composition, opera, musical theatre and popular music.

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