Music

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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Music

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Music graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Music graduates

Arts administrator

Manager activities events e.g. arts festivals or projects for community arts organisations, local authorities, arts councils. This will involve event planning, booking venues, performers, support staff and arranging catering, handling the finances and insurance. In addition the role includes marketing the event, liaising with the media, ticket sales and possibly arranging tours in the UK or abroad. Other tasks to be undertaken include ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and venue accessibility.

Community musician

Their role is to encourage individuals and group to achieve social goals through creating music. They work in settings such as day centres, pupil referral units, schools, with a diverse group of individuals – young people, adults with learning difficulties, the elderly, in a community development or tutoring capacity. The aim of their work is to help develop creative and social skills and not just musical ability. May use a range of musical styles - jazz, pop, hip-hop and instruments.

Composer

May be commissioned to compose new scores in all musical styles (although likely to specialise in one area) for orchestras or individuals, films and video using their in-depth knowledge harmonization and rhythm, or to perform themselves. Sometimes work in collaboration with other musicians or lyricists; some will utilise electronic resources as part of the creative process. Liaise with other professionals such as managers, music publishers and record companies, or may even promote their work via the internet and social media.

Music agent

Acts as the representative of performers and through their contacts in the entertainment industry, promotes their clients, liaises with producers and venues, negotiates the fees and draws up contacts. Endeavours to keep up to date with the current trends and proposed new productions, as well as scouting for talent. Plays an important part in developing the careers of the artists on their books.

Music publisher

Handles the commercial side of the development of new music, protecting songwriters and composers through ensuring copyright is in place and all music used is paid for under license. Drawing up contracts to establish copyright provides the incentive for music publishers to invest in the composition and performance, so taking their fees and paying royalties. They are likely to specialise in one of five areas – music promotion; rights administration; production and editorial; sales and marketing or accounts and royalties.

Music teacher

Are likely to work either as a classroom teacher, or a peripatetic instrumental/singing teacher in an educational setting, or with private pupils. If based in a school their input will relate to the national curriculum and endeavour to develop their pupils’ skills in music composition, performance and preparation for GCSE, AS and A level exams. May also organise school concerts, orchestras, choirs and other musical events. Visiting peripatetic instrumental/vocal teachers often work within a local music service.

Music technologist

Work with electronic equipment such as amplifiers, sound mixing boards used in the recording and performance of music. May be involved in setting up equipment in recording studios, or for TV and radio, or live events. If they specialise in film or video production, they must often synchronize music with video and lighting applications or reproduce sound effects. Their role is to ensure the technology allows optimum performance, so must keep updated on the constant advances in technology.

Music therapist

Uses music as the medium to help individuals or groups experiencing a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties, eating disorders, anxiety, communication difficulties and addiction. Assesses their clients’ needs in conjunction with other professionals and agrees the therapy objectives with their client, reviewing the progress made. This can include singing, listening and playing instruments such as percussion to aid communication, expression and increased self-awareness. A postgraduate professional qualification is required for this work.

Musician

May perform as an instrumentalist or singer as part of a show or concert, either as a solo artist or as part of a band, orchestra or ensemble; performances could be live or recorded. Popular musicians may also be singer/songwriters. Session musicians may be employed to work on music for adverts, films and videos or backing tracks for singers.

Subject specific resources