If you are thinking about getting a degree in music, then you probably have had at least a couple of years of experience, or exposure at the very least, with your chosen instrument or specialisation. Those who choose to pursue a degree program in music are generally already very dedicated to their craft and have trained previously, prior to joining the program.
If you are accepted into a music degree program, you will be focusing on many aspects of music, such as history, literature/reading, theory, performance, arrangement, harmony and technology. Assessment will be based on different facets of the program such as lectures and written work plus practical evaluations.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
In some cases, for you to be able to work with performing groups or orchestras, you must have had good academic standing accompanied by sufficient performing experience. Getting into these more classic ensembles or companies is usually competitive because of the number of classically trained musicians who want to pursue this route.
As mentioned earlier in the article, specialisations are available in a number of institutions. For a degree in music, this is usually part of choosing your major. Schools normally have a deadline set for when you have to choose a major or specialisation. In the case of getting a music degree, you might have to choose your specialisation as you audition for the program.
Below is a short list of common specialisations in music degrees offered by universities:
An undergraduate degree in music can typically take three to four years. Many music majors choose to do a dual-degree program wherein they take more than one specialisation. This increases the time taken to complete the program. Other factors for the exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located.
There are also various degrees available for those interested in pursuing further studies in music. There are master's programs such as Master of Arts in Music and Master of Music.
Entrance into a music degree program varies from institution to institution. Requirements may also differ between the different specialisations you may choose to take up. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. Institutions may also consider previous music courses taken.
A very important aspect of applying to music degree programs that have a performance aspect is the audition program. Usually, applicants are asked to audition using the instrument associated with their specialization or chosen major. Some schools will also require recommendations from music professionals, such as your music teacher or trainer. A resume will also be helpful in showcasing your experience.
Getting into reputable music schools is highly competitive. An interview may also be part of the process to help school administration and professionals to gauge whom to accept into the program.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
The best part of choosing to take a music degree program is being able to hone your skills that are specific to your instrument or focus. For music graduates who completely want to pursue a career in music, many choose to do several jobs, such as private teaching, performing and working on their own music.
On the other hand, there are also graduates of music programs who choose to branch out into other related fields. For example, music graduates can work on music design in film, TV and theatre. Some work for events companies that require a sound production team. Those who choose to focus on music business and management during their studies can also become talent scouts or managers.
While working on their degrees, music graduates usually gain masses of confidence in addition to transferrable skills such as critical reflection, self-management, creative thinking, teamwork and organisational skills.
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