What can I do with a music degree?

IWU's School of Music offers Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education, Performance (Vocal, Piano, Instrumental, and Composition), and a Bachelor of Arts in music.  We also offer courses in conducting that are required by our Bachelor of Music students.

General Information:

  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck.  Perseverance is required!
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multitalented."
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success.
  • Need basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Gain experience working for a music publisher or other businesses in the entertainment industry.
  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.
Areas Employers Strategies
Teaching
  • Daycare centers
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Private schools
  • Recreation centers
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Conservatories
  • Private Lessons Studio or Self-employed
  • Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching.
  • Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences.
  • Graduate degree required to teach in higher education.
  • Specialize in an area such as music, music theory, composition, music history, etc.
  • Performance skill on one instrument or voice required.
  • Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.
Performance
Instrumental
Vocal
  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras
  • Symphony orchestras
  • Small ensembles
  • Rock or jazz groups
  • Dance bands
  • Concert soloist
  • Clubs and restaurants
  • Church choirs
  • Community choral groups
  • Opera chorus or soloist
  • Musical theaters
  • Ballet productions
  • Recording industry
  • Radio, television, and motion picture industries
  • Develop musical talent and skill.
  • Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music.
  • Ambition and showmanship are important.
  • Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
  • Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
  • Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers.
  • Auditions are generally required.
Composing/ Arranging
  • Self-employed
  • Record companies
  • Publishers
  • Muzak
  • Motion picture and television industries
  • Production companies
  • Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important.
  • Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers.
  • Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise.
  • Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary.
  • Seek grants and awards through foundations.
  • Very few musicians earn living through composing.
Conducting
  • Choirs
  • Choral groups
  • Symphonies
  • Opera
  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras
  • Develop superior musicianship and leadership.
  • Acquire extensive experience in performing groups.
  • Opportunities extremely limited.
  • Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.
Musical Therapy
  • Hospitals: general and psychiatric
  • Special education facilities
  • Mental health centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private practice
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Take courses in psychology, social work, or education.
  • Earn a master's degree in music therapy and seek certification.
  • Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
  • Must demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.
Music Libraries
  • Colleges and universities
  • Conservatories
  • Public libraries
  • Radio and television stations
  • Develop computer and research skills.
  • Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology.
  • Earn master's degree in library/ information science.
Recording Industry
  • Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)
  • Publishing and Editing
  • Producing
  • Recording
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Promotion/Media Relations
  • Publicity
  • Administration
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Product Management
  • Complete an internship at a record company.
  • Take business courses to work in management or administration.
  • Journalism, public relations, and communication classes helpful for work in areas of promotion.
  • Gain sales experience for marketing. Must interact well with people and develop persuasion tools.
  • Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production.
  • Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station.
  • Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus.
  • Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.
Communication
  • Radio and television stations
  • Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators
  • Music and Program Direction
  • On Air Performance
  • Promotion
  • Voice-over
  • Copyright / Clearance Administration
  • Music License Administration
  • Music Editing, Production, and Composing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Post Production
  • Research
  • Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism.
  • Work at on-campus radio station.
  • Complete an internship at a television or radio station.
  • Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.
Miscellaneous Sales:
  • Music shops
  • Record stores
  • Instrument manufacturers

Music Journalism:

  • Music-related publications
  • Magazines and newspapers

Law:

  • Entertainment law firms
Sales:
  • Get sales experience. Work in a retail music outlet.

Music Journalism:

  • Take courses in journalism and English.

Law:

  • Write articles for campus newspaper.

  • Earn law degree.