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

The type of work experience that will be useful depends on the career you'd like after your degree. If you want to become a performer or composer try to get exposure to as many musical genres as possible. This will increase your knowledge of music and help you to decide on your preferences.

Listening to live music and performing allows you to assess musical ability, interact with audiences and be exposed to new musical ideas. You can try to get involved in performances through your university's music society or other groups such as choirs, orchestras, ensembles and musical theatre.

If you'd like to move into sound design or engineering you should aim to build a portfolio of your own sounds and try to get involved in sound design at live events. You can also look for work experience within recording or editing studios or within community and hospital radio.

Other projects that include sound and music work can also be useful, such as amateur theatre, student film and radio projects and work with local musicians.

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 become a performer 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 - through performing and engaging listeners
  • teamwork - through working in bands or orchestras as a player, leader or manager
  • technical skills and expertise - using technology to produce, record and remix music and sound
  • 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
  • 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

You may choose to undertake further study in an area related to your first degree that allows you to specialise, for example in composition. It's also possible to take 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.

Alternatively, you could take a vocational qualification in order to enter certain careers, such as a postgraduate teacher training course so you can teach music within secondary schools. 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?

Three of the top five jobs reported by music graduates include artistic, literary and media occupations (20%), teaching professionals (13%) and sales, marketing and related associate professionals (6%).

Further study7.9
Working and studying12.7
Graduate destinations for music
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media22.7
Retail, catering and customer service16.1
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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