Music may be your passion, but it’s not the only career you can pursue after you graduate with a music degree. Whether you’d like to make a living from your knowledge of music or explore different options, this guide should help you think about the skills your degree has given you and the jobs they can be applied to. You’ll also find out about the careers creative arts students aspire to and the types of jobs performing arts graduates are working in six months after leaving university.
Skills for your CV
Specific skills you will have gained from your degree in music include:
- memory and concentration
- the ability to perform under pressure
- planning and organisation
- critical thinking
- IT skills
Job roles and career areas you could work in
Composing or performing music isn’t the only way you can put your music degree to good use, though you are likely to need further qualifications or training. Music graduates would be well suited to the following jobs:
- private music teacher
- music therapist
- secondary school teacher
- television production assistant
- programme researcher
- arts administrator
- editorial assistant
- marketing assistant
Music graduates may also be attracted to careers as sound technicians, broadcasting engineers or events or music venue managers.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the transferable skills listed above are applicable to a huge variety of career paths. Many jobs are open to graduates from any discipline, although you may need to gain relevant work experience alongside your degree or after graduation.
What do creative arts graduates go on to do?
Here’s what creative arts and design graduates who finished their degrees in 2018 were doing around 15 months after graduating, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.
|Voluntary or unpaid work||2|
|Working and studying||9|
Key areas of employment for creative arts graduates
These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2018 creative arts and design graduates around 15 months after graduation, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
|Wholesale and retail trade||18|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||17|
|Professional, scientific and technical||12|
|Information and communication||11|
Source: HESA's higher education graduate outcomes statistics, 2020
Which careers attract creative arts students?
Media and advertising was the most popular career choice for creative arts and design students identified by a 2020 survey of more than 71,000 undergraduates carried out by Cibyl, a research business owned by the same company as TARGETjobs. Just over one in ten (10.9%) of students of creative arts and design, a group of subjects that includes music, who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for creative arts and design students were as follows:
|Media and advertising||10.9% expressed an interest|
|Hospitality, leisure and tourism||8.7|
|IT and technology||7.2|
Source: Graduate Survey 2020
Famous people with music degrees
If none of the above appeals to you, there are plenty of other options available. Consider the following celebrities who have music degrees:
- James May – the former Top Gear presenter attended Lancaster University.
- John Williams – studied piano at the Julliard School before going on to compose music for films including Jurassic Park.
- James Horner – the composer behind Titanic’s score studied at the University of Southern California.