What can I do with a degree in Music?
The music industry is one of the largest and most productive employment markets in the world, offering paid work to a vast array of practitioners. Much of the rapid development of the music industry has occurred in the last 25 years and is the result of the explosion of digital technology. In addition, many of the professional areas within music are traditional including teaching, conducting, music leadership and performing as a soloist, in a small group, orchestra or band. Church music is also a growing area and offers careers to many musicians.
Current careers for musicians can include studio music teacher, school music teacher, orchestral player, chamber musician, community musician, opera singer, music technologist, composer, arranger, song-writer, media producer, arts administrator, event manager, academic researcher, music librarian/archivist, sound engineer, sound artist, music journalist, session musician and more.
Through their Music degree graduates develop a valuable set of transferable skills that includes:
- Technical skills needed to write, produce, perform and record music • Analysing complex textual and cultural phenomena
- Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
- Collaborating effectively in groups of differently talented people
- Communication skills and techniques, including listening to others
- Ability to receive and apply feedback
- Problem solving
- Real-world experience in a variety of musical settings
- Time management, planning and organisation.
Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom are available in this major. Undertaking an internship, for example, can deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge, and employability.
As a Music graduate you can pursue work:
- As a freelance performer, composer, arranger, producer, technician, event manager
- Contracting to groups like a cathedral choir, an orchestra or touring theatre production
- In Arts organisations such as Toi Māori Aotearoa or public bodies such as the Ministry for Culture and Heritage
- Teaching in schools in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas
- In fields such as journalism, publishing, TV and radio (planning as well as production)
- In the technical or digital departments of any type of organisation, looking after such aspects as recording, instruments, technology, audio-visual, digital content, e-resources.
Recent UC graduates have found roles in:
- Secondary schools
- Private music schools
- Freelance music instruction or self-employment
- Musical instrument retailers
- Tertiary institutions
- Marketing and media organisations
- Recording and production studios
- Arts organisations
- The Royal New Zealand Defence Force
Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.
Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.
- Creates and/or learns musical pieces
- Practices and records music
- Performs in a studio or in front of an audience
- Arranges venues, events and other musicians
Secondary school teacher, primary school teacher
- Plans and delivers instructional lessons
- Evaluates performance and provides feedback
- Sets and marks assignments and tests
Private music teacher / tutor
- Plans and teaches music lessons
- Communicates student progress to whānau
- Arranges public performances and recitals
- Directs groups of performers and may accompany them
- Recruits and auditions new members and fosters development
- Arranges and directs performances and events
- Assembles and operates sound equipment
- Creates sound effects or alters sounds
- Mixes and balances sounds
- Creates new music eg, scores for TV, apps
- Creates sound worlds using live musicians, created and found electronic sounds, and sampling methods
- Works with professionals eg, producers, editors
Arts administrator / manager
- Plans logistics, provides office support, and manages budgets/schedules for events, venues, performers, managers
- Contributes to marketing materials and media
- Develops new projects and initiatives
- Uses music creatively to help people address social, emotional or physical difficulties
- Devises and monitors therapeutic strategies
- Encourages patients to express themselves through music and effect positive changes
- Develops and plans concepts for events
- Creates and maintains an event budget
- Promotes and implements an event
- Plans, produces and edits online or print content
- Manages social media accounts and campaigns
- Liaises with others eg, production staff, digital communities, media
Musical instrument sales / retail assistant
- Answers enquiries and gives advice
- Creates displays and manages stock
- Collects payments and tallies sales
Dance teacher / instructor
- Plans and teaches dance lessons
- Choreographs routines, usually to music
- Directs and coordinates public performances
Entrepreneur and CEO
- Develops an idea to form their own business
- Gets involved in a start-up
- Offers services as a freelancer/consultant
Get started with Entrepreneurship here
As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies or organisations relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in a community.
- SOUNZ - Centre for New Zealand Music
- Australasian Performing Right Association
- Composers Association of New Zealand
- Institute of Registered Music Teachers of NZ
- Recorded Music NZ
Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep upto-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.
Learn from our students' experiences
'My PhD is directly related to the work that I am doing within the community and throughout New Zealand...'
'The course is helping to continue to shape me as a musician, and is giving me clear goals...'
"I never imagined that as an undergraduate in a practical, performance-based course I would be able to study a completely research-based master’s."
'I got to learn all about the origins and theories behind the music I loved playing...'
'I am attracted to Law as well as Music because of the way it teaches you to think critically about the world...'
'I had already loved playing music, but UC was where I learnt more about the history and theory in depth...'
'I have been able to shape my degree to study what I love and be an individual from the others...'
For more information
see the Music subject page