As a music graduate, composing, performing and teaching are just three of the ways you can develop your music career

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Getting exposure to as many different musical genres as possible will increase your knowledge of music and help you to decide which direction you would like your career to take. Listening to live music and performing allows you to assess musical ability, interact with audiences and be exposed to new musical ideas.

Get involved in performances through, for example, joining your university's music society and other music groups such as choirs, orchestras, ensembles and musical theatre.

Some university courses include work placements in areas such as music education and instrumental teaching, recording and studio work, composition and events management.

You could also pursue opportunities with music-related employers, for example schools, music festivals or venues that regularly host musical acts.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

There are many options open to you as a music graduate and you can choose to work in a range of professions inside and outside music.

Having a portfolio career is quite common if you follow a music career and you may end up working on both a freelance and contract basis. For example, you could combine teaching with freelance performance work, as well as doing contract/session work on particular projects.

Employers include:

  • music production companies - creative and administrative roles
  • music retailers
  • media organisations - including music magazines and licensing bodies
  • schools and colleges
  • orchestras, opera companies and touring companies
  • travel industry companies, e.g. hotels, summer camps and cruises
  • mental healthcare providers and charitable organisations
  • the armed forces
  • a range of employers in the cultural and creative industries including film and gaming companies.

Find information on employers in creative arts and designteacher training and educationmedia and internet, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A music degree gives you a broad base of skills including:

  • good physical dexterity, memory and concentration - developed in practice and performance
  • creativity - developed through a range of creative projects
  • communication skills - developed through performing and engaging listeners
  • teamwork - through working in bands or orchestras as a player, leader or manager
  • self-management - physical and mental self-discipline achieved through regular practice
  • performing under pressure - overcoming nervousness in order to perform well during exams, concerts and auditions
  • planning and time management - organising and working towards a project/performance
  • technical skills and expertise - using technology to create and record music and studying acoustics
  • critical reflection - giving and receiving criticism, learning from mistakes and striving for improved performance
  • entrepreneurship - how to succeed in a competitive field.

You may gain knowledge of how music is used in different communities and cultures and develop an understanding of professional ethics in the arts world.

Further study

Some music graduates choose to undertake further study in an area related to their first degree that allows them to specialise, for example in composition. Others pursue a range of qualifications in areas such as music performance, direction and instrumental or vocal teaching.

When thinking about further study, you may consider a purely academic music qualification or degree options in community music, cultural management or musicology.

It's also possible to take further training in order to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) and work as a music teacher at secondary level. Find a postgraduate teacher training course.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in music.

What do music graduates do?

One in ten (9%) music graduates are employed as musicians fifteen months after graduation. Teaching professionals (7%), secondary education teaching professionals (6%),  arts officers, producers and directors (3%), actors, entertainers and presenters (3%), photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators (3%) and marketing associate professionals (2%) are also in the top ten jobs. 

Further study7.3
Working and studying12.3
Graduate destinations for music
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media21.5
Retail, catering and customer service20.5
Clerical, secretarial and administrative9.7
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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