What can I do with my music degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a music degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

  • developing performance techniques and demonstrating a good level of concentration
  • verbal communication through performing with a band
  • technical knowledge of music software to aid recording and composition
  • teamwork through playing as part of a band or orchestra
  • creativity and an awareness of how music impacts society and culture
  • the ability to cope under pressure in order to perform solo or within a group during concerts, exams, recitals and auditions
  • time management and planning through managing performances and collaborations, preparation/practice and meeting assessment deadlines
  • project management through module assignment workloads and composition work
  • self-reflection through performance feedback
  • active listening and attention to detail.

Career options

Studying music at the University of Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices. You could look at channelling your creativity by pursuing a career in performing, composition (song writing and/or sound design for film or gaming) or working as a music producer or professional DJ. If creating music doesn’t appeal to you so much, you could consider other roles within the music industry such as artist management, A&R (responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists), promotion & booking, managing a music venue, producing music festivals or working as a music journalist. Additional media related roles include radio presenting, marketing and arts administration.

Another popular avenue are the varied roles within music education. If you specialise in a musical instrument, you could be a private tutor working across different schools and colleges or teach music at secondary school level (with a PGCE). Education offers not just the chance to inspire young people to appreciate music, but also community driven initiatives, touring companies and charities can provide the setting to share your passion. Music therapy is also a route to consider if you want to harness the therapeutic power of music and use it to help support those with disabilities or mental health issues. Music therapists work within a variety of settings including schools, mental healthcare providers and charities. If you are keen to work with young people and vulnerable adults, there are also opportunities within youth and community work which specifically use music to unlock their creativity and build their confidence and self-esteem.

Portfolio careers are a common occurrence for those within the creative sectors, particularly music and can provide many opportunities to develop professionally amongst varied settings, to get a feel for what works for you best. Contract work combined with freelancing is a good way forward, such as teaching/ youth work combined with freelance performing. Depending on the environment you think you would like to work in, you could be self-employed. Whatever you choose, your music degree provides you with the unique skills to create an exciting and varied career path.

Researching your career options   

With such a wide range of careers open to you as a Music graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.  

Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the professional associations websites for inspiration:  

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.  

  • self-employed musician
  • technician
  • freelance musician/teacher
  • intern
  • freelance singer
  • trainee manager
  • junior software developer
  • managing director
  • freelance sound engineer
  • musical director
  • music leader/trainer
  • web designer
  • drum teacher and performer
  • digital marketing/creative writing
  • freelance guitar tutor

Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Music graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to Music graduates:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a careers consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme:

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration. Check out the BA Music Professional Development Programme to find out about the opportunities open to you.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & Societies   

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to music such as RockSoc or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable