Can you really get a job from a music degree?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by sugarandspice, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I am currently in my final year of a 4 year B Ed degree, (in Primary Education specialising in Music) and starting to think about applying for jobs etc

    I feel quite lucky knowing exactly what i want to do, and that there are teaching jobs out there (providing of course that i can prove how good i am! :) ) I have been lucky enough to carry on with some Music as part of my course, However Education is my Primary focus.

    However i can't help wondering how i would feel if i was about to come out of a Music Degree,

    How many people go into Music related Jobs as a result of a Music Degree?
    or end up doing something completley different? Working in an office etc and therefore is a Music Degree a waste of time?

    Do Music Graduates turn to teaching as a last resort having failed to make it into the Music Industry? And how many then drop out of a PGCE realising that teaching isn't as easy as they percieved it?!

    And is there really a Music Industry (especially for Brass Players) that actually pays a decent salary?!
  2. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Would you like fries with that?
  3. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Ending up doing something different doesn't mean a degree is a waste of time. People learn a lot just by doing a degree. Personally I think there is far too much 'careers' influence on what degrees people do, and even at the stage before this, people choosing their A-levels based on what they are told will help them get the job they think they will want in several years time, rather than picking subjects they enjoy and are good at.
  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    At my school, at the moment, the psychology department are putting on a big push to get more students to do psychology. Half of these usually drop out after AS (if not before) because they begin to realise just how boring it is - or more truthfully, how much writing and real work is involved.

    My degree is a BA in Music and Maths. I originally started on a BEd, but swapped over to the BA so that I could do both Maths and Music and followed it on with a PGCE. I hated all the rubbish they were spouting about education at the time. I still can't abide a lot of the **** they come out with now. The people who drop out of teaching do so because they are not natural teachers and thought dealing with children was going to be a doddle - all those cute little 5 to 11 yr olds, all those hip, cool teenagers who they could be friends with...ballcocks!

    The 'golden hello' prompted too many 'gold-diggers' into the profession who want to get out of the classroom and into management as quickly as possible so they don't have to do the job they supposedly came into the profession to do.

    Anyway, quite a few of our 6th formers go into music related work. Most eventually go into teaching, but there are several professional performers over the last 20 years or so and one chap I taught is working for GCap (the company who own Classic FM? - Hi James :)) There are accountants and surveyors and othe jobs, but the balance is fairly OK, considering the state of the music industry, and classical music in particular, in this country.
  5. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member


    One aspect of a degree is that it shows you can stick at something for an extended period of time and when you pass, you will have improved your knowledge of the studied subject. It shows you have a capacity to study and, if you go on to do a masters or doctorate, it shows you are really clever ;)

    A degree is evidence of the capacity to study to a certain level. In a way, the subject you study is unimportant.
  6. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    I didn't listen to my careers 'advisors' (i.e. what they are short of is what they tell you you want to be). They are a bunch of idiots. I often received answers along the line of 'well, there's no money in that' when I told them I would like to go into music, which to me is beside the point (and incorrect). Money is nice, but enjoying what you do - to me anyway - is MUCH more important because you're going to be doing it for a considerable part of your life.
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    You can't pay the mortgage by enjoying yourself.

    It helps motivation wise to get to the end of the day by doing something you 'enjoy'....but it's not always possible....and don't get me started on the jobs in the music industry via music tech
  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I got a job with an orchestra after I got my music degree as librarian and general stage hand/dogsbody; however I'd done quite a lot of stage management etc. while I was studying which was almost as important as the degree. So it is possible, but it's not easy, and you'll never get rich. It was, by a country mile, the most fun job I've ever had, but I scraped by every month!
  9. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    I have several friends with music degrees from RWCMD, RNCM, RAM, RCM etc who are now professional musicians. Most of them do some teaching as well.

    I also have lots and lots of friends who went to conservatoires and are now instrumental teachers for various music services around the country and quite a few who did a PGCE and are now classroom music teachers.

    I worked in the education department of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and then in the press office of the Arts Council of Wales after finishing my degree but decided that office work didn't agree with me.
  10. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    I agree with you, but what you say can be a tad unrealistic as well.

    I fniished my music degree a year ago and the plan was to work or a year then do my primary pgce, I have come to the time when i should probably apply to do it now, and I phisically cannot think of anything worse! After a music degree teaching seems the only possible thing to do, unless you play an orchestral instrument which i don't (trumpet does NOT agree with me before anyone suggests that!) then it is hard to get a career in music other than teaching. I would love nothing more than to sit playing my cornet all day but there are simply no jobs for it! And although I agree with MRB that money is not the sole reason for a job for me, you do need it, now more than ever, to survive!
    I 100% think I did the wrong degree, although I enjoy playing more than anything I wish i had done something where I could have got a job i wanted at the end of it. Instead I have wasted (not completely - good experience) a year of my life temping and have now decided to look into doing Legal Secretary course cos I am working at a legal firm atm and I enjoy it and the course sounds like something i might enjoy! I am definatly with MRB in the fact i do not want to be stuck doing something i hate for the rest of my life, good money or not!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  11. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    Music Tech?

    I'm doing that at A-level.

    is the 'don't get me started' a good or a bad thing??!
  12. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    It means don't expect to get a studio job from doing a qualification in music tech.
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Mike's post is closer to my view of further education qualifications, although the investigative techniques mastered during the course of study may have a bearing on what potential employers may determine as relevant, e.g., creative vs. scientific vs. historical vs. analytical. All courses vary in content from one educational institution to another and can be reflected in an individual's CV.
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    I would disagree with this - many of the people I know who have dropped out of teaching are very much natural teachers, what they are not is natural pen-pushers and form-fillers, which is what a vast amount of teaching has become. Put many "natural" teachers in front of a class and they don't need lesson plans, they don't need interactive whiteboards, they don't need entertaining DVDs, they can inspire the students to learn with just their knowledge and personality.

    I know many music teachers who have stunning lesson plans, they produce amazing things for their students to watch and interact with, yet they produce very poor results. There are others who struggle to produce lesson plans that make any sort of sense at all, yet they produce incredible results with even the most difficult classes.
  15. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    with kids (especially from about 12/13 to 18) what you HAVE to have is a personality. Like Mike says, lesson plans and death by powerpoint are all well and good, but if you have the personality of John Major you've lost immediately.

    We see it with new teachers all the time - the ONLY ones who get minced are the ones with nothing about them.
  16. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    So true!
  17. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    However, just to play devil's advocaat for a mo, they need to be natural teachers and to do the barest minimum to get by on the shiite that they have to do these days - but they have to be prepared to recognise it for what it is and do it anyway. If I had had to do all the rubbish that young teachers have to do these days, I would probably have never made it into the classroom. I always encourage my trainees to be as innovative as they like - they can always write it up and tick the boxes afterwards.

    OK, Mike, sweeping generalisation - many of the... etc etc. To be frank, if you are a real teacher, you will do all the ticky-boxy shiite anyway, you just need to recognise it for what it is, grit your teeth, lie back and think of England.

    You can always recognise the good ones. Their paperwork is often carp, but they have the kids eating out of their hands.
  18. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Are you suggesting that a particular Muslim denomination is responsible for the problems with modern teaching, or are you just trying to get around the bleeper? Because I believe both of those things would be frowned upon...
  19. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    The devil drinks eggnog?
  20. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Or has a penchant for short balding dutch football managers... :)

    I disagree with those who say they want to do something they enjoy for the rest of their days. I started out in the computer industry because it was fun and new and exciting. Stayed that way for over a decade, but now its just a chore and a means to an end. However, the money is excellent and until something else comes along that pays as well I'll be staying where I am. That money pays the mortgage and gives myself and my family a pretty good standard of lifestyle. It allows me to give opportunities to my son that were denied me when I was his age. I don't hate my job, I just don't see it in the same light as I did a few years ago.

    On the question of degrees in general. I agree with those that say it shows an aptitude to concentrate and work hard but most employers are more interested in hard experience.

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