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The Advantages of a Music Management Degree

by Melissa Goldsmith, studioD

Music management degrees usually consist of a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Music Business or Music Industry Management or a Bachelor of Arts in Music with emphasis on music, business, public administration and management. An advantage of this kind of degree, according to MyFootPath.com, is that you can learn music core requirements in addition to management specifically geared to individual musicians and music organizations, including the music industry, performance companies and symphonies. Examples of these programs include the Berklee College of Music, Middle Tennessee State University and New York University's Steinhardt School.

Many Career Options

Degrees in music management lead to many career options, which include symphony fiscal manager, sound recording producer, music agent, concert promoter, music company financial manager, events manager, booking agent, manager and scout. In addition, for conductors wanting to strengthen their resumes, a degree in music management shows that they can direct an ensemble and also handle business management responsibilities. With experience in the music industry or managing performing arts companies, music management majors are prepared to apply to master's programs like Berklee College of Music, which offers a Master of Arts in Global Entertainment and Music Business, and New York University's Steinhardt School, which offers a Master of Arts in Music Business.

Knowing Music Business

Music management degree programs, like the bachelor's program at Middle Tennessee State University, specialize in the music business, skills and knowledge taught neither in music nor in business courses. Specific applications include management of individual musicians, a performance group or a company’s personnel, as well as knowing the roles of managers in every aspect of the music industry, including production, publication and marketing. Music management degree programs also focus on the legal aspects of the music business so that future music agents, directors and managers can keep their clients and organizations informed about business options, contracts and performance rights.

More Hands-On Experience

Going beyond case studies, most music management programs require hands-on experience that include internships. Berklee College of Music, for example, requires students to complete a capstone project in both simulated and actual work environments. The advantages to these kinds of experiences include putting music management knowledge into action, making arts administration skills tangible, networking and combining concepts and knowledge learned in a variety of courses such as applying music promotion, marketing and technology.

Learning about Popular Culture

Music industry courses offer perspective on understanding music in popular culture in ways that music history or ethnomusicology courses rarely have time to explore at the undergraduate level. In the 19th and well into the 20th centuries, music publishing, which was the music business, impacted the popularity of songs through sheet music sales. The effect of these sales enhanced the fame of opera, Broadway musical and popular singers, whose recordings were advertised on the cover pages. Likewise, new editions of classical symphonies sparked renewed interest in these works. In the 20th century, album and tour sales influenced music history and reception. These aspects of music history are fascinating to study and have transferable knowledge that is applicable to today’s music industry.

About the Author

A musicologist and librarian, Melissa Goldsmith earned her PhD in musicology and Certificate in Advanced Studies in library and information science in 2002 from Louisiana State University. Her academic articles and reviews have also been published since that year. Goldsmith enjoys teaching tap dancing, music, film studies, embroidery and gardening.

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