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10 Best Degrees for the Music & Entertainment Industry

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The entertainment industry is expanding rapidly, and it’s one of the best places for people who want a career with a lot of potential for growth. However, studios, businesses, and hiring managers only want the most qualified candidates to work on their productions. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get the best knowledge and experience during your university studies. With the right degree program, you can gain a deep understanding of various aspects of show business and get an advantage over the competition. You need to start your career on the right foot, and you want to get the most out of your education, so check out these 10 useful degrees programs to get a head start in the entertainment industry.

1. Music Management

Without the right managers, artists would not be able to bring their work to the masses. Managers are responsible for booking gigs, setting up important meetings, planning projects, organizing tours, and so much more. The vast majority of artists owe a large portion of their success to their managers’ hard work and general competence.

A manager must have the fortitude to adapt to tight deadlines and unpredictable conditions. Moreover, artist managers require strong analytical skills to understand complex schedules, routes, and other important details so that clients are always in the right place at the right time. Although artist management isn’t easy, it’s a very lucrative career path for those with the drive, social skills, and attention to detail to help their clients succeed.

General Overview of This Program

You will start your degree by learning basic management principles and becoming a more professional writer. A music management program should include courses on intellectual property law, business ethics, and international commerce. Furthermore, most programs make students study entrepreneurship, marketing, and relevant technologies. As you progress in a music management program, you may have the choice to concentrate on a certain discipline. For example, you may want to focus heavily on digital marketing and promotion, or you might want to specialize in touring and concert operations.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Music managers work with artists, venues, record labels, radio stations, and other key players in the music industry. Your career path will depend entirely on your overall goals and personality. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind being away from home for months at a time, then you may want to focus your coursework on tour management. In contrast, someone who hates long road trips would probably rather coordinate events at a local venue or manage projects at a record label.

2. Public Relations

A company’s public image is of the utmost importance. If a business can’t get the right message out to their intended audience, then it won’t get the kind of recognition and engagement that they need to succeed. Good PR is vital in any industry, but it’s especially crucial to succeed in show business. These days, fans and consumers receive an unprecedented flow of information. The average person is bombarded with so many ads, press releases, and social media posts that they become overwhelmed and ignore anything that doesn’t stick out.

In the worst-case scenario, the public may pay attention to a company’s message for all of the wrong reasons, potentially resulting in controversy, boycotts, and a decrease in sales. When people aren’t hungry for controversy, they’re looking for the next big headline. Therefore, skilled PR professionals are crucial for any artist’s success in the digital age. As a PR professional, you’ll help artists and entertainment businesses tailor their message to improve engagement and build the right image.

General Overview of This Program

Most PR programs push students to develop social media acumen, become comfortable with public speaking, and improve their writing skills. Various courses will train you to prepare professional presentations and write polished press releases. Moreover, any reputable program will require you to take relevant ethics and law courses. You may also learn about video production and marketing. After completing the first couple of years in the program, you may choose to focus on PR strategy, research, technical writing, or some other important PR-related discipline.

Where Will This Major Take You?

A degree in PR is super versatile and will open a lot of doors for talented graduates. If you want to become a copywriter, media planner, or marketing coordinator, a PR degree will make your dreams a reality. Because a PR degree allows you to take so many roles in a company, it’s important to take internships and electives that will be relevant in your desired occupation. Because PR is so important in every industry, the skills that you learn in a PR program are easily transferrable.

3. Copyright Law

Intellectual property is a huge deal in the entertainment industry. Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to protect their copyrights and secure legal distribution of their intellectual properties. Artists don’t work for free. Like anyone, an artist needs a roof over their head, and they expect a paycheck for all of the hours that they put into their craft. Without proper copyright protection, an aspiring artist may not be able to monetize their work, so it may not be feasible for them to continue to bring their art to the world. With proper licensing and management of an artist’s intellectual property, artists, their record labels, and other relevant parties will receive compensation for their respective roles in the process.

General Overview of This Program

You need a bachelor’s degree to get into law school, so you may want to take a major that is related to the industry that you want to work in. As a law student, you will spend much of your time studying legal philosophy, various subjects in law, and other relevant courses. Later, you may focus on a particular field of law. After your first year of law school, you will have the opportunity to pursue an externship or clerkship. Once you have finished your education, you will likely want to take the bar exam to practice law in your state.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Copyright lawyers work with artists, record labels, broadcasters, entertainment companies, and other parties to devise contracts and license media. If you work in an entertainment company’s legal department, then you can expect to spend much of your time drafting contracts and pursuing litigation in the case of copyright infringement. On the other hand, you may want to work for artists and provide valuable legal counsel so that they can get fair contracts with record labels and other entertainment businesses.

4. Audio Production

A lot of effort goes into making a record. It’s not as simple as leaving a band in a room and pressing the right button. For a recording to sound clean and crisp, a team of audio engineers must perfectly record, mix, and master a variety of instruments, vocal tracks, and effects. Audio has been ubiquitous in the entertainment industry for the past century. Whether you’re listening to a record, watching a show on your favorite streaming service, or relaxing with the latest podcast, you expect high sound quality to enjoy the experience to the fullest extent.

Audio engineers work tirelessly in every aspect of the entertainment industry to ensure that every noise, song, and spoken word sounds right. However, audio engineering is a very complex art, and the science that goes into producing high-quality audio can be extremely difficult to understand. Because of this, recording engineers are in high demand but low supply. Thus, anyone with the right knowledge and skills can make a name for themselves in a number of industries as an audio engineer.

General Overview of This Program

Audio production majors learn how to record, mix, and master music and other audio to produce songs, soundtracks, and other media. At the start of an audio production program, you will learn the physics of sound to better understand how objects, rooms, space, equipment, and other factors affect recordings. With that foundation, you will learn how to use common hardware and popular digital audio workstations to produce audio in a variety of contexts.

Where Will This Major Take You?

An audio production degree will give you the tools that you need to become marketable in all corners of the entertainment industry. You can work for a recording studio, become a sound designer for a movie or television program, level audio in video games, freelance online, and so much more. There will always be a need for high-quality audio in most forms of popular media. Moreover, musicians, theater productions, and other entertainment acts need qualified audio engineers to ensure that everything sounds good in front of a crowd.

5. Dance

A good dance number can spice up any music video, live production, movie, or television show. Thousands of unique types of dance exist across the world, and dancers are in high demand everywhere. Whether you want to move your feet on a Broadway stage, accompany the grooviest artists in their videos, or preserve your local traditions, a dance program will give you the tools to perform and choreograph professional dance routines in a variety of settings.

General Overview of This Program

Dance majors study the history of dance and learn various forms of dance as they progress through their degree program, and most dance majors primarily focus on one technique or discipline. Dance majors must also take anatomy and fitness courses to learn proper ergonomics and decrease the likelihood of developing occupation-related medical problems. Later in the program, dance students learn choreography, improvisation, design, career preparation, makeup techniques, and other pertinent subjects and techniques.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Dancers are present in all kinds of media, so if you want to dance in a live production, get a role in a music video, or work in television, then a dance degree will help. Many professional dancers become dance choreographers as they gain experience. Dance education is a huge industry, so many dancers provide private lessons or teach at dance academies or other educational institutions.

6. Music Performance

The music industry has been growing for the past several years, and this trend is not expected to stop in the foreseeable future. To keep up with this growth, the music business requires more instrumentalists and singers than ever before. Thus, if you already play an instrument or sing, then you can leverage these skills to get a head start in show business. No matter what instrument you play, there is likely a demand for your skills somewhere in the world. A music performance degree will help you hone your proficiency, improve your understanding of music theory, and broaden your horizons so that you can play at a professional level.

General Overview of This Program

Music performance students primarily focus on honing their skills in their respective instruments. Coursework typically includes ear training, recitals, music theory, and ergonomics. By the end of a music performance program, students should have the skills to play a variety of genres with many different kinds of ensembles.

Where Will This Major Take You?

The sky is the limit for music performance graduates. Whether you want to play with an ensemble, become a session musician, or start your own band, a music performance degree will give you the instrumental proficiency and musical competence that you need to succeed. Also, many music performance majors earn a good income by taking freelance gigs or teaching lessons.

7. Music Composition

A good score is one of the most important aspects of any film, television program, or live production. Without the right soundtrack, many memorable scenes would be completely forgettable. Music is incredibly complex. Although it’s easy to comprehend the basics of music theory on your own, a degree can give you a much deeper understanding of music so that you can apply more advanced techniques to your compositions. Furthermore, a music degree gives you the practical education that you need to write beautiful and practical parts for all kinds of instruments and ensembles. The majority of productions require a ton of original music, and a composition and scoring degree can help you fulfill that crucial role in the entertainment industry.

General Overview of This Program

Any decent music composition program will teach you about general music history and contemporary practices. You will also take a series of increasingly complex music theory courses. These classes will help you learn various forms of counterpoint and harmonization, odd time signatures, scoring, and general composition. Throughout the process, you will build a diverse portfolio of choral, chamber, orchestral, and solo pieces. You may also write music for jazz groups and other kinds of ensembles. Eventually, you will begin to work directly with musicians and learn how to properly orchestrate compositions, lead rehearsals, and conduct performances.

Where Will This Major Take You?

With a music composition major, you can write music for film scores, live performances, video games, television shows, and more. Your portfolio will be particularly crucial when finding clients or securing jobs, so it’s especially important to write as many quality pieces as possible during your studies. Many composers also work as freelancers on various online platforms. Because demand for original compositions is very high, a versatile composer shouldn’t have a problem finding plenty of clients. If you want more job security, then you may choose to become a music educator.

8. Music Education

The next generation of artists will have a hard time succeeding if they have to teach themselves how to make and perform wonderful music. Most successful musicians have had a teacher at some point in life, and as the music industry continues to grow, demand for competent music instructors will increase. Also, many nonprofessional musicians have developed a valuable hobby with the help of quality music classes. Music teachers have changed many lives for the better, and music education is a noble career path. With a music education degree, you can give your students the tools that they need to express themselves in an extremely fulfilling way.

General Overview of This Program

Aside from exploring the basics of composition and performance, music education majors will spend most of their time studying the latest pedagogical techniques. You should expect to learn how to develop lesson plans, manage a classroom, assess needs, and evaluate progress in order to provide the best outcomes for your students. Furthermore, you will likely take some childhood psychology and ethics courses. Most music education programs have students practice teaching at a local educational institution to fulfill relevant requirements for a teaching license.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Because most music education programs help students earn a teaching certification, many graduates opt to work in public or private schools. However, you have plenty of other options. You can teach at camps, offer private lessons, or work with various organizations to promote music education. Many music education majors opt to pursue higher post-graduate degrees to broaden their employment options and earn higher wages.

9. Film

The film industry is bigger than it has ever been, and experts expect the market for video services to grow rapidly over the next several decades. With the expansion of popular video-based apps and social media platforms, there is no better time to learn how to write scripts, use a camera, or operate stage equipment. Studios, artists, and companies across the world need a wide variety of film industry professionals to help create all kinds of productions, so there is no shortage of work for someone with the right skillset for quality filmmaking.

General Overview of This Program

You’ll likely spend your first couple of years in this program studying storytelling, film history, ethics, film theory, genre analysis, and other aspects of film. As you make your way through the program, you will focus more on video production, audio production, standard and emerging technologies, and other technical aspects of filmmaking. Near the end of your program, you will take internships and work on a collaborative film project with some of your fellow classmates as a capstone experience.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Depending on your coursework, you may end up behind the camera, in the director’s chair, managing the lights, or anywhere else on the set or behind the scenes. Film degrees tend to cover a wide variety of topics, so you will have opportunities to gain plenty of experience in many aspects of the filmmaking process. You may want to focus on a particular aspect of filmmaking early in your studies so that you can better distinguish yourself when entering the job market.

10. Social Media Management

These days, social media platforms are a dime a dozen, and the vast majority of people have at least one social media account. Social media accounts allow companies and artists to interact directly with fans, provide quick updates, and gauge the public’s attitudes about current or upcoming products and services. The average person spends multiple hours per day on social media platforms, so it’s important to develop a strong online presence to reach the target audience. As a social media manager, it will be your job to ensure that your company’s message isn’t lost in a vast sea of posts, advertisements, and other content.

General Overview of This Program

Coursework will primarily focus on ethics, emerging technologies, writing, and principles of PR. Many students in social media management programs tend to focus on elements of media production and marketing. Furthermore, students often minor in subjects that align with their fields of interest. For example, someone who wants to be a social media manager for a film studio may choose to take several courses related to cinematography and film studies. Many programs include courses that educate students about popular social media platforms and new social media technologies.

Where Will This Major Take You?

Almost every modern business needs a powerful presence on multiple social media platforms. Thus, someone who specializes in social media management can choose to work in a number of industries. Many graduates start by handling individual social media accounts for their employers. As you gain more experience, you may take a strategic planning role or supervise other social media workers within a company.

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Get our emails in your inbox, and you’ll get acceptance letters in your mailbox

Get our emails in your inbox, and you’ll get acceptance letters in your mailbox

Find Your Degree

Find Your Degree