If you have decided to study music at degree level, you are probably interested in theoretical knowledge as well as the wider aspects of the music industry

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

It is important to gain as much experience in different musical genres as possible. As well as giving you more knowledge in the area, it will allow 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.

Some university courses include work placements in areas such as music education and instrumental teaching, recording and studio work, composition and events management. It may also be helpful to pursue opportunities with music-related employers, for example schools or venues that regularly host musical acts.

If you are seeking a career in a different area, it is useful to gain experience. You can do this through university involvement, paid opportunities or volunteer work. These experiences can often be combined with your current study by working in the evenings, on weekends or during the summer holidays.

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

Typical employers

Music graduates work in a range of professions inside and outside music. If you choose to follow a music career you may have to take on several roles with different employers. For example, you could combine teaching with freelance performance work, as well as doing contract/session work on particular projects.

Music graduates can be found working for a variety of employers on both a freelance and contract basis. Employers include:

  • schools and colleges;
  • orchestras;
  • music retailers;
  • media organisations;
  • the armed forces;
  • commercial organisations;
  • a range of employers in the cultural and creative industries.

Find information on employers in creative arts and design, teaching and education, media 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;
  • 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 - 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.

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 graduates choose to study 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.

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

What do music graduates do?

More than two thirds of music graduates are in full-time employment six months after graduation. Of those in work, a fifth are working as musicians.

Just under a quarter of music graduates go on to do further study or a combination of work and study.

DestinationPercentage
Employed68.2
Further study14.7
Working and studying7.7
Unemployed5.6
Other3.8
Graduate destinations for music
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media30.6
Retail, catering and bar work19.2
Education professionals10.6
Secretarial and numberical clerks8.3
Other31.3
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.