Getting Serious about a Degree in Music

A hand is paying the piano shown below.

Flickr user Jessie Hodge

So many kids these days are musically-inclined and passionate about music-making but fail to follow through with a degree. In truth, there are very few who push music as a career. It might be considered too specific a job to find its way to the industry where multi-talent and multi-tasking is a requirement. But the problem is not in the lack of skills, because there is plenty of that. The problem is in getting students ready to compete in the real world.

However, it looks like this is slowly changing. A study about the number of students with music degrees that are working in their profession by Dr. Peter Miksza of Indiana University and Lauren Hime, an educator, said 50% of students in a performance group found work after 4 months into graduation. The issue really is whether a music student will be able to make a living after graduating. Here, we look at the variables that can help support the passion as well as career feasibility.

Technology in Music

Technology is pervasive, making its way into the music industry and academia. Although unconventional for some, its presence in the classroom is enabling students to adapt to the current working landscape after getting out of college—and that’s a big deal.

Back in the day, the teaching materials for music are composed of sheets and the musical instrument. Today, string students have interactive virtual piano online so they have a piano—albeit virtual—wherever they go. It makes learning as pervasive as technology as well. On the other hand, technology in the music room ensures that students are more competitive in the market. Instruments are not the only tools they will use once they graduate. They have a smorgasbord of musical tools that they can use to either make music, teach, or support artists.

The Music Room, Transformed

A virtual instrument is just one of the many tools that students can opt to use to get additional lessons. But before that, one problem teachers face when in the classroom is a lack of resources for a variety of reasons. If we are to compare the situation in a business scenario, small businesses are challenged by a lack of resources such as budget or marketing skills. But with social media, they can compete with the big companies without having to blow up their budget. That evens out the playing field.

Similar to the musical classroom, there are limited channels or industry-used tools for teaching that can help keep things interesting for students. This sometimes results in insufficient competitive skills once they go out in the market to look for jobs. Teaching, in general, has changed over the years, to keep up with global trends. The music room need not be left behind in this change.

Nothing beats the real thing, of course. The point is to design different experiences for students to be creative and hopefully give them a feel of what the real world is all about. Perhaps the world of music through the help of technology has become wider than what it used to. It’s a good thing for those who are impassioned about music, whether as performing artists or musical engineers behind the scenes. HP, an information technology company released their predictions and observations on how technology will change the path of the music industry showing just how varied the opportunities can be for Music students.

Hesitation to Technology in Music

To encourage more students to follow their passion for music, the teaching landscape has to cope with not just the trends in the industry, but by the exposure of students to technology, whether they like it or not. It’s time to face the music, pun intended. To produce musically-inclined and industry-ready students, schools need to embrace technology as a tool to foster passion and to finally bring Music as a top choice for students who are about to get into college.

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