The music business is big, with revenues expected to hit $65 billion by 2023. Most people only focus on the loudest and most visible part of the music industry, the faces on the covers of show business. However, there is a massive value chain behind all the musical successes that we hear on the radio, see on TV, or watch in concerts and live shows. Everything from producers, A&Rs, record executives, songwriters, publishers, and many others all work synergetically to ensure that listeners and viewers get nothing but quality from musical acts.
For the musicians and stars that we see or hear, talent and personality may be the most important ingredients for success. There are a few exceptions to this. Lady Gaga and Childish Gambino were both enrolled at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts before embarking on their solo music and acting careers. But that’s not to say that they wouldn’t have achieved acclaim if they hadn’t enrolled in school. It was just a part of the process for them.
For other careers in the music industry, a degree isn’t an absolute requirement, although it would be a great place to start if you were looking to get started in showbiz.
Whether you are an aspiring musician or want to work in the music business, here are 5 great college majors for anyone looking to get into an alternative career at the frontline of the music industry.
BA or BSc in Commercial Music
Most renowned Arts and Music schools in the US offer majors in classical musical programs such as orchestral performance, voice training for opera, collaborative piano, composition, strings, and harp, etc. However, a Bsc. in commercial music also puts you right at the very heart of the music industry, focusing on more contemporary genres such as Jazz, Pop, Rock, RnB, and Hip Hop.
Some of the careers that you can go into with a B.A or Bsc. in Commercial Music include songwriting, production music writing, lyricist, score writers, sound engineer, music specialist, music producer, music editor, score arranger, etc.
BA in Music Education
If you are looking to go into teaching music at any academic level such as K12 or college and university, a music conservatory, or as a private instructor, you need to have an appropriate degree in music education. Some of the coursework in music education covers such areas as music theory, music history, aural skills, private instruction, conducting, ear training, etc.
Depending on the area you want to work or specialize in, for example, in a conservatory, a master’s degree may be a necessity. In this field, you’ll be applying pedagogical approaches such as the Kodaly Method to help your students gain the full potential in musicianship and performance. Therefore, this program requires one to have a desire to help others.
B.A in Music Journalism
Music journalism melds two creative careers, placing career practitioners at the heart of writing for media journals, print publications, media broadcasters, recording studios, and other outlets concerned with music. Music journalists work for some of the most globally renowned names in recording and publishing, such as Sony, Elektra, Universal Music, the New York Times, etc.
As a music journalist, you might spend most of your day listening to music and writing critiques, researching, transcribing notes and interviews, writing emails to publicists, and putting out press releases. If you are lucky and in a good place, you could be given frontline access to interviews, shows, and concerts by some of the biggest stars in the industry. As an independent journalist, you could even start a successful blog on the side, or start a ‘buy essay online service helping out struggling students with your writing skills.
B.Sc in Music Technology, Audio and Sound Design, and the Recording Arts
This is truly the heart and frontline of the music business. With this degree, you will be working in recording as a sound engineer or as a producer. Your career will bring you directly into contact with recording artists, whether at concerts, studios, radio stations, live sound tech events, and other areas that involve sound or music production.
There are lots of opportunities for people working in this field; therefore, it might be one of the best career choices that you make.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre
A musical theatre degree is aimed at creating well-rounded professionals concerning voice, dance, and singing. This produces highly versatile performers, well-informed music interpreters, and versatile artistes and exposes students to aspects of both classical and contemporary music.
The coursework should take you through music history and theory, scene study, stage management, courses in opera, etc. With such a degree, you might end up working behind the scenes in film and production, or on the stages of some of the world’s biggest theatres such as Broadway.