It’s back-to-school season (ugh) and that means a lot of you are off to college. If you’re like I was, you’re probably “undecided” in your major and not sure where to go. I’m here to help! If you’re passionate about music but not sure you want to dive into a music major, there are plenty of options to help your music and life in general. Let’s discuss some non-music majors that you can also use for your music!
The beauty of a lot of these majors is that they are rather ‘open-ended,’ meaning you can carve out your own path using your major as a rough guideline. If you study to be a heart surgeon, you’re going to be a heart surgeon. If you study Communications, the road isn’t as clear, but it gives you more room to explore a bit! Let’s talk about six college majors that will give you a steady day job while also helping your music career.
Different College Majors for Musicians
First, let’s focus on the most important aspect: Your career goals. (Here is a great resource for setting goals after college!) What exactly do you want to do in the music industry? If you want to be an entertainment lawyer, you’ll obviously have to go to law school. I’m writing this with the assumption that you either want to be a performing artist, or you want to work behind-the-scenes somehow but aren’t sure what to do. Many people want to go to college simply as a personal goal. Many others (myself included) have parents who want them to get a degree because they feel music is a long shot. So, here are some majors you can use both in and out of the music industry:
A general business degree will help you as an entrepreneur, which you will absolutely be if you are an indie artist or any type of music insider (session musician, mixing engineer, recording studio operator, etc). I have a Bachelor’s Degree in business and I’m amazed at how often I’ve used what I’ve learned in my session singing career. You’ll learn a wide range of business topics and you can even narrow it further into management, communications or marketing. Which brings me to the next helpful degree.
Marketing is so crucial to music, and so many artists are unsure of how to do it or are too afraid to do it themselves. You can certainly use a marketing degree for your own music, and you can market other musicians to make ends meet. This is also great if you want to be involved in the music industry but don’t do music yourself. A career where you help people discover new music would be a great idea for music lovers who aren’t musicians.
This is kind of broad, but any type of writing training will help you as a musician. Creative Writing will help you with lyrics, Business Writing will help you apply for music grants, and Journalism will help you submit articles about your music to magazines. I minored in broadcast arts so I did a lot of journalistic writing. If you’re reading this blog, you’re seeing how that helped me with my session singing career!
If you’re a right-brained creative, you might have recoiled at this suggestion. However, accounting is an important part of a musician’s career and one that many overlook until it’s too late. If you’re great with numbers and also love music, you could help you fellow musicians file their taxes. Professional accounting services are an extremely worthwhile investment to musicians, and a job like this would ensure that your own taxes are also done correctly.
This would set you up for a career in PR or scriptwriting, so it’s kind of like Marketing and Writing combined (depending on what you choose to do with it, of course). Being your own communications expert would be great for your music, but you could also do it for other musicians and carve out a nice niche for yourself.
6). Foreign Languages and Linguistics
This is perfect if you’re already multi-lingual and sing in different languages. You’ll open your potential fanbase to include your area of study, and you’ll have a ton of travel opportunities as well. There are many things you can do with a degree like this, and translators are almost always needed.
Keep in mind, you can choose any major and also pursue your musical passion. You can be anything + a musician. If none of these jumped out at you, that’s fine! Don’t rush into a decision. Settle into college life and see where it takes you.
If you’ve already decided your major, let me know what it is!I've chosen my major: Click To Tweet
Do you have other questions about choosing a major, or did you take a different career path that helped your music? Let us know in the comments!