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. Music is more accessible and widespread than ever before. 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 into studying this art form?
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.
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 courses 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.
Most 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 allow students to study modules that may not be music-related. However, some universities let students tailor their degree and chose their modules in the second and third years of the course.
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.
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.
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.
A music degree 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.
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.
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 career paths.
Particular jobs include; performers, academics, producers, music teachers, composers, publishers, lawyers, administrators, lawyers or within marketing.
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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