For millions of people, music speaks to the heart and soul. If you live and breathe music, but also have a desire to teach, compose, conduct, or perhaps play an instrument or sing professionally, getting the right education is critical. If you desired career requires more than a simple Associate's degree the next step up for many people is to earn an online Bachelor's degree in music. While you can get an education through a traditional college or university, there are numerous time and financial advantages to earning a degree online.
This article is part 6 of our Ultimate Guide To Earning Your Music Degree Online series. Please visit the index document to view the other parts in the series.
What Constitutes a Bachelor's Degree in Music?
In simple terms, this is an undergraduate degree and part of higher education. Offered through brick and mortar, as well as online community colleges, private universities, and state universities, a Bachelor's degree typically takes four to five years to complete. However, some educational institutions offer special programs whereby this level of education can be finished in just two or three years.
Earning an online Bachelor's degree in music makes it possible to pursue a professional career in a variety of unique fields. If desired you can open up even more options by continuing your education to earn a Master's or even Doctoral degree, but for a Bachelor's degree, you can choose from several specific fields such as those listed below:
- Bachelor of Music in Instrumental and Vocal Performance
- Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance
- Bachelor of Music in Music Composition
- Bachelor of Music in Music Education
- Bachelor of Music in Music History
- Bachelor of Music in Music Theory
- Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy
- Bachelor of Professional Sciences in Music Business (via Berklee Online only)
However, be aware that some traditional music centered BA degrees are not offered online due to the intense private instrumental or vocal instruction required to earn them. Others, such as music education, require a license from the state you wish to teach in and at this point this always requires in person, on-campus instruction.
Career Opportunities in Music
Remember, exact career opportunities will depend on the chosen field. Following are some examples of careers for each of the degrees outlined above.
- Instrumental and Vocal Performance – In addition to working as a professional performer in nightclubs, live theater, or on tour, this degree will open doors for teaching in private and public colleges and universities.
- Jazz Performance – As the name implies, a degree that focuses on jazz performance will help you master the advanced theory and technical skills necessary to perform as a professional jazz musician. You will also gain the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to compose and arrange jazz pieces, as well as teach on the college or university level.
- Music Composition – This degree will prepare you to continue education in music but also enter a career field such as composing and arranging using digital and acoustic compositional techniques or music notation systems, as well as scoring music for professional instrumentalists and vocalists.
- Music Education – Earning a Bachelor's degree in music education will provide you with educational skills adequate to allow you to teach in any of four specific areas including vocal, keyboard, strings, or winds/percussion. As a result, you will learn the required skills to teach in a private or public school and in most cases will also earn your state teacher certification in the process.
- Music History – With focus on music analysis, music cultures, music literature, and musical form, the degree is ideal if pursuing a career in research or teaching at the college and university level.
- Music Theory – With this degree, you will gain a high level of sophistication in relation to acoustic and digital composition, music notation, music research, music analysis, and other technical areas. With this, you can work as a composer or arranger, or if desired you go into high-level teaching.
- Music Therapy – Earning a Bachelor's degree in music therapy prepares you to work in a therapeutic role using music. You can work as a member of a therapeutic team in treating patients with a variety of ailments including depression, mental and physical disabilities, life-threatening illnesses, and many others.
Benefits of Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree In Music
Even with an Associate's degree, you have exciting career options but by earning an online Bachelor's degree in music, the list of possibilities is much greater. Not only are there more career options, but having a Bachelor's degree dramatically increases earning potential. Of course, if you earn a degree with honors or choose a specialized area of study, this can open up even more opportunities for you in the field of music.