Why study a masters degree in music

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do a masters in music?
  • How do you fund a masters in music?
  • How much is a masters in music?

A music masters degree course is a popular choice in many UK universities. The subject fits a number of disciplines across the curriculum including performers, producers, teachers and technical experts. Music masters degrees are offered at around 70 UK Universities, attracting over 4,000 postgraduate students each year. Here are some details to explain what to look for when you study a masters degree in music

Traditional music Conservatoires

The traditional providers for masters in music have focused on training future performers and producers. These specialist universities are termed Conservatoires, and many also support the physical arts such as movement and dance. Some have a heritage stretching back 300 years.

Conservatoires attract applicants and musicians from across the world to study or teach. The competition for places is very tough, as they will expect the highest standards of musical ability from candidates.

More modern universities with music departments enjoy links to a traditional Conservatoire. This applies to the subjects that require performance or accompaniment by a professional standard orchestra. However masters students interest in music courses extends beyond the formal traditions of classical and opera to include new music, electronic and digital.

New providers of music masters degrees

In recent years a number of universities now cater for students who want to study modern genres. This includes types of improvisation, sampling and creating music online and distributing through social media.

The boom in popular music has arisen through the cultural and demographic changes that have emerged in the last 80 years. These include providers such as BIMM Institute and ICMP

Masters degree courses in music cover a wide range of topics of interest. These attract performers, producers, technicians and all the management roles that exist to present live events and entertainment experiences. The focus of these degree courses is how the student can step into the music industry once they have graduated.

Performing your own music

Many students get their first taste for performance by discovering self-expression in musical form. Masters degrees in performance are practical courses that concentrate on helping the student discover their talent. They encourage students to nurture the skills they will need to make a career out of performing or making music. This includes singing, rapping, songwriting and adapting music as well as playing as a solo artist or in a band.

Music production and techniques for recording and distribution

Music production incorporates all the areas. These include topics that contribute to the operation of the industry (as is the case with Film and TV). Masters in music and event production incorporate the skills needed for sound production. They apply to venue management and freelance services for consumer and commercial events.

The introduction of platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music and tools such as Ableton has revolutionized the sector in the space of a few years. What was once in the hands of A&R people and music labels has been replaced by growing numbers of individual performers who are established as independent businesses.

This is a sector that functions within the ‘gig economy’, so performers and producers need to understand about contracts, licensing, copyright, distribution, royalties and all the many aspects of a $54Bn global industry.

Music for wellbeing and enrichment

Music integrates into all areas of society, so students with a masters degree in music often work in sectors beyond just pure entertainment. Music Therapy is a widely recognised treatment for supporting the wellbeing of individuals. Music as a tool for self-improvement has become an important consideration as society adapts to the new normal of everyday life.

Music teaching at masters level is a specialised but greatly valued career choice. Many musicians evolve from performers and producers to qualify as teachers.

They inspire young people and go on to study a masters degree in music.

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