Although there are many successful musicians who do not have music school degrees, obtaining formal education in music theory and performance is strongly recommended if you want to pursue a career in the music industry. Having the opportunity to work with experienced instructors will help you develop your skills as a musician in a way that is hard to achieve through other means.
Since only a small number of musicians are able to make a living as fulltime performers, it is a good idea to earn a degree that will prepare you for a career in a related job, such as a music teacher, choir director, or music therapist. If you study music at a traditional four-year college or university, you may choose to double major in music and an area such as business or communications in order to further enhance your employment opportunities. A well-rounded liberal arts education will give you the skills you need to succeed even if your career goals change over time.
Most people who study music choose to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the field. However, if you are interested in teaching music theory or performance at a postsecondary level, you will need to have a master’s degree or a doctorate. A Master of Music (M.M. or M.Mus.) is considered the minimum acceptable credential for teaching at a college, university, or conservatory. It is also common for people to earn a supporting degree, such as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in music education or a master’s degree in library science.