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Readers Respond: Is A Degree Required to Work in the Music Industry?

Responses: 23


Do you need a degree to work in the music industry? This question does not have an easy answer. Colleges, especially music biz specific programs, can be very beneficial in terms of things like landing internships that turn into jobs, and many programs are taught by music biz pros who have tons of experience to share. On the other hand, I have never been asked about my degree while applying for work and the vast majority of people I know who work in music have had similar stories. So, what's the real deal? Share your music school success stories or ideas about why experience rules over education in the music biz. Share Your Thoughts

No. You don't need a degree.

I've been in the music business for 25 years, and no, you don't need a degree. I don't have one, and I don't care if the people I'm looking to hire have one. The two most important qualifications for the music business cannot be taught in school. #1 is who you know. People work with teams they trust, and the only way to build your network is by working and networking. #2 is your work ethic, your trustworthiness, and your ability to handle the entrepreneurial nature of the business. Indie artists can't afford to care about "soft skills" if a jerk will get better results for them than a nice person. If you're willing work your butt off to give an artist value for their money, then you'll go far. If not, your degree will be a nice wall ornament. If you really want to do this, use the time you'd spend in university to volunteer for local bands and music festivals. Get experience booking shows for them and promoting them. If you're good, people will be offering you $ before long.
—Guest 25 years in the biz

I've finished 2 years

I am 2 years into a Jazz Studies degree and enjoy it very much even though it is extremely challenging. I am starting to question whether it is what I need to be doing if I want to be a play. I say this because we students are so bogged down trying to pass our none instrument related classes that there is no time to practice our instruments. Ultimately that is why I am there to really learn to play. So although grad school is an option if I stay, I feel like I am wasting time and money that could be spent actually learning to play. This is one criticism of music degrees. It is possible to obtain the degree but not really be able to play well. Now that I have been in it, I can see that that is possible. Many excellent musicians did not go to school or left early. There are many people with music degrees that are not working in the business. Is the expense and time worth it? I am dealing with this question. A performance degree is not going to increase income. No one will ask for it.
—Guest Frank

Broadway Star

Does anyone know if yo have to have a degree to be on broadway?
—Guest Sami

associate of arts.. WHAT NEXT?

I will be graduating this fall with associate. I was told to get this degree because I am a undecided major.. Now is the time when I should know what I want to do.. what are some good jobs in the Music industry in Promoting and marketing and what should I major in to get my Bachelor degree I also, sing
—Guest dopestsofar


thanks but what qualifcations for a music editor i wanted to know what they do how to become a music editor or what about a tour manager what they do what they have to do
—Guest bex


i have a question.. i am interested in becoming a A&R for a record company.. i dont know if i should get a music business degree or if i should get just a business degree
—Guest ljay

Degrees ARE important though..

Degrees are SO impoortant. Yes, music may be your passion but what if it does not work as well as you think it was. You end up with no job and no degreee to get another job to support yourself. It will all come down to how devoted you are. Im a 13 year old AVID student. I, personally, love music, i love to sing and write. But, school has to come first. This is my opinion. I've been told i'm on the right track since i still think of gretting ad degree and going to school. Remember i am young but i do understand the concequences of not going to get your degree, yeah it seems stupid now, but trust me you gonna need it!
—Guest Juliet Williams


I am a COUNTRY singer and have always had to be my own sound man !!! If you got an EAR and know how to read the owners Manuel , you can figure out anything !!!! ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON'T KNOW SOMETHING !!!! A DEGREE ??? Experience means alot !!!! I have put together a sound system that will " STAND UP TO ANY SYSTEM " all used stuff , most off Craigslist !!!! USE YOU HEAD AND " DO YOUR HOME WORK "!!!!!!
—Guest Gary Stephens Chapman

What Should I Take Up?

I need a course to take for college, im interested in the music industry and singing is one of my passions and im wondering if there is a course or a study on that sort of thing.
—Guest Fallen Angel


me and a buddy of mine are trying to get into the dj bussines. But not that regular old wedding dj and other little corney shit. I'm wondering if we should go to college or somthing that offers courses that teaches us more about the real thing? Would it be worth it?
—Guest iozi


If you're going to be a producer, then you might be interested in getting an audio production degree. One of my mentors has a degree, and he says it's a fabulous advantage. If you're going to be involved in the business portion, I know nothing about that. But an education is not required for being an artist, being an artist simply requires talent and creativity. Buy my single on iTunes! :) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/we-gonna-dance/id546438373?i=546438375&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
—Guest Sir Azar


See, im younger here and i love singing. Its my passion and i cant see myself doing anything else in life besides music. I know this is exactly what im going to be doing with my life. I have no doubt about it. Ive been in training for the past year but its going to take more than that. You need to have the musical knowledge and even though college is a few years away i want to know now, i want to make goals now. Would it be the better choice to get a degree in music, or can i still work and make albums and tour and become succesful without one?
—Guest KTBJ

Music degree is important

I believe a music degree program is very important in the industry because if u'r not musically inclined( musically educated), even if your experience is rock solid, there are some issues u can't handle. I strongly believe that in the pursuit of music, to get the excessive cash, u need education and experience. If u can get these 3Es (Education, Experience, and Excessive cash), you'r definitely a pro musician. If u want the excessive cash flow in the industry, never seperate Education from Experience. Make your passion your profession. Have fun....
—Guest GJazz

Do i also need a degree?

What make's one a profesional?, is it not the certification one obtain's? Now if you can naturally perform what others are paying to learn in school, why can't you develope yours so as to, present you formally before the society. Now' it's a vital issue atleast for one to, Bear his/her certificate....mind you, it's not a must, but atleast do so...
—Guest Dakye

Having a degree

No,you don't necessary have to have a music degree to become a singer but it also helps because the classes you take while in school for it.Help you learn how to develop your strengths of singing and reading musical notes.Because i've been doing it for so long.I decide to go ahead and get a degree in it because i wanted to.not because I had to.when you have a passion for something you will do it even more. hope this helps
—Guest Diamond

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Is A Degree Required to Work in the Music Industry?

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