The short answer is yes, if you ask how many possible careers can you have once you have a music degree the surprising answer will be, more than 70 exceptional and lucrative careers are open to you. These careers start with the obvious ones, a position in an orchestra or a professional ensemble. The second most obvious position is that of a teacher, with a music degree you can teach in a high school or university though university lecturer usually will require you to have another degree as well.
According to most conservatories, the best is to combine both of those two choices. Playing in an ensemble and teach at the same time. Also doing a chamber group work on the side is considered to be a major advantage. Teaching and playing in orchestras or large ensembles can be exceptionally rewarding if you are extremely passionate about those two careers. That said, there are many more options available to you. A lot of the positions you can look at once you have your music degree will require you to do some more study i.e. another degree.
You really need to sit down and figure out by the time you actually get your degree what path you are going to take and you can do some part-time work in the last years of your degree to get some idea of what it will be like to continue in that path. Most people in the last two years of their degree will do some chamber work, some accompanists work, some music instruction work, some musical arranging, if possible some audio engineering work, and anything else they fancy along the way.
Very few musicians who get a music degree will be aiming to head into the fields of pop music or any of the other modern forms of popular music i.e. jazz or country. The ones that have done it, have been very successful financially and professionally. There are a large number of successful musicians who are self-taught and had no formal training whatsoever. If you complete your university degree and still donât have any idea exactly what you want to do then you could go into the promotion side of the business until you come up with a more suitable choice.
There are many fields and positions which really get a mention when youâre doing your music degree but some of them are very good ways of earning a living while you also get to play music. The first one I noticed was that of performing on a cruise ship. This doesnât sound very professional but the pay is up to $2000 per week which will definitely keep the wolves from the door.
Another interesting choice would be as an instrument craftsman/builder, I wouldnât think a job in an instrument making factory would be the way to go but there are jobs around in small independent workshops that could be very beneficial in helping you perfect your art, these jobs pay anywhere up to $200,000 per annum with a starting salary usually around $35,000 per annum point.
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