“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Anderson
In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph – a device that could be used to record and play music. Not long after came the Graphophone – a device that used wax cylinders and could be played countless times. Next up that same year was the gramophone – the first device to start recording on flat discs or records. Over time records evolved and stopped being made out of glass. Plastic was a material they could use instead and easily mass produce.
The 1970s gifted the world with cassette tapes, and the Sony Walkman – the world’s first personal music player – captivated the planet in 1979. Then came Compact Discs, or CDs, followed by the MiniDisc, which came to life in 1992. Less than a decade later, the iPod was introduced, with the iPod Touch then causing a stir in 2007. As they say, the rest is history. Now there are hundreds of tools that let you listen to music in high-speed, personalised ways.
It’s an industry that’s developed faster than you can say Mozart’s 41st. Our most favoured method for musical consumption changes as much as a full orchestra concerto, and it offers us an insight of what life is really like in the professional music world. It’s vibrant, unpredictable and increasingly rapid-fire, which often makes it tricky to track down your dream job.
And while critics might question the value of a specialised music education, rest assured that recruiters see music graduates as more employable than you might think.
“If you study medicine at university, chances are you’ll become a doctor. For music students, it’s less obvious what job you’ll end up with…but it could be really fulfilling,” writes Henry Slater of The Guardian.
“It’s wrongly assumed that when it comes to jobs, music students are confined to their field of study,” he adds. “In reality, music students go on to do a wide range of jobs in a variety of different industries.
“Music grads work in publishing, editing, media production, broadcasting and marketing. A number work with professional ensembles, but not all are performing as musicians – many work in management roles.”
In terms of employment, the music industry forecasts steady growth in the next ten years. Opting to pursue formal higher education in this highly competitive field will set you apart from the crowd, instilling you with both discipline and focus that allows you to go on and thrive. It allows you to view your craft with a passionate, intricate eye, helping you forge a long, meaningful career in your field of choice.
Here are 5 world-class Music Schools for you to consider…
Located in one of Canada’s most culturally vibrant cities, this faculty inspires and educates in a context beyond your degree. Through comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programmes, the Desautels Faculty prepares versatile, confident, career-ready graduates who, for generations, have taken their place in wide range of music and music-related careers.
“Gifted musicians excel when they are supported with generous financial assistance, expert instruction, exceptional facilities, and abundant opportunities. This is the environment you will discover at the Desautels Faculty of Music!” says Dr. Edmund Dawe, Dean of the Faculty (2007-2018).
“At the core of the Desautels Faculty of Music is collaboration,” he adds, “and this is encouraged and nurtured in all programs. You will pursue your major practical study with renowned teachers and throughout your coursework will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of styles – from early music, to standard classical and jazz repertoire, as well as contemporary, popular and experimental genres. Mentorship and a team approach are at the heart of the outstanding education you will receive.”
Our award-winning professors are active performers, conductors, composers and scholars in over 20 countries. Their expertise is combined with a passion for teaching, offering students an exceptional environment of opportunity and support.
The diverse city of Houston attracts talented students from equally colourful roots. From here, music alumni have carved their own – just one year after graduation from the Moores School of Music, for example, Class of ’16 graduate, Kenneth Broberg won the silver medal in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
In-state tuition rates can be applied to talented individuals who receive a $1,000 (excluding any amount below $1,000) merit-based scholarship, with the financial aid being offered to gifted students every year. And the Moores School itself boasts an enviable presence in the local community, with its own professional opera house holding four or five productions each year, from the Magic Flute up to Pulitzer prize-winning plays.
The facility was initially designed on a fusion of old-style European aesthetics and cutting-edge acoustic technology. The Moores School offers programmes that lead to Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, which can also result in Doctoral study for those looking to go the extra mile. There’s also a non-degree post-baccalaureate Certificate in Music Performance up for grabs.
Among the various degrees offered by University of Florida (UofF) are some unique and exciting options for those intent on pursuing a less conventional career. For example, the Music for Pre-Health Professionals programme equips undergraduates with the expertise needed to implement music into their eventual medical practice.
For those who are passionate about music but not in a position to devote the intense contact hours required by traditional performance degrees, there’s also the option of an online Masters in music education. For those keen to go down the more common campus route, UofF has some impressive alumni records, with former students performing on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera.
Beyond the books and practice rooms, UofF offers students the chance to gain real-life experience in the musical field; from the chance to play as part of an orchestra or ensemble, to the chance to undertake a semester overseas.
Powered by a vision in which art and scholarship can significantly influence change, students at the Setnor School of Music go on to positively impact the world.
“We believe all our areas of emphasis – instrumental and vocal performance, conducting, music education, music industry, audio arts, sound recording technology, voice pedagogy, and composition – are interdependent and integral to the success of the school, the health of the profession, and the evolution of culture, and we therefore strive for the highest standards in every one of these degree programs,” the faculty explains.
“We recognize that inherent in these endeavors is a responsibility to the campus community, the community beyond campus borders, and our culture as a whole,” it adds. “Hence, we are committed to serving a larger public through outreach and education, working to create an inclusive environment in which all can develop their gifts.”
The Department of Music at UNC Chapel Hill is dead-set on enhancing the richness and breadth of musical innovation. It’s a school that’s keen to develop critical thinking skills, allowing students to understand the role of music in the wider world; to acknowledge its details and structures; and, through practice performance and creation, to refine critical expertise surrounding music’s nuance, power and variety.
The school grants two undergraduate music degrees – the BA and BM – plus two graduate degrees – the MA and PhD – in musicology. The syllabus seamlessly incorporates individual instruction with academic study for about 175 undergraduate majors. Those considering pre-professional music instruction have the chance to study with well-known performers in a rigorous performance/academic programme.
Through a comprehensive range of classes, lessons, ensembles, lectures, camps and concerts, UNC Chapel Hill musicians are elevated and inspired.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International