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Master's Degrees in Music

Learn about master's degree programs in music, including what types of degrees are available and what you can learn. Continue reading for additional information on online degree options and requirements.

What Music Master's Degrees Can I Earn?

Many colleges offer a Master of Music (M.M.), which you might consider if you'd like to study instrumental or vocal performance or conducting. While you may be able to go on to teach with an M.M., these programs aren't specifically designed for current or future teachers.

In contrast, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Music program typically offers a general education in music, with available emphases in areas such as music history or music education. An M.A. program might be right for you if you're a current or prospective music teacher looking to build your leadership and teaching skills.

Degree Types Master of Music (M.M.) and Master of Arts (M.A.)
Common Courses Music history, vocal literature, composition, music theory, musicology
Online Availability Online programs are available, but some programs may require some in-person visits
Median Salary (2020)$52,250 (Music Directors and Composers)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)2% growth (Music Directors and Composers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Will My Curriculum Be?

An M.M. program typically focuses on musical performance, such as opera, jazz, chamber music or piano. You also might be able to specialize in music theory, music history or composition. M.M. programs often require an audition for entrance.

In contrast, M.A. in Music programs generally emphasize music research and theory. As a Master of Arts student, you might take courses in musicology, opera history or vocal literature. To complete your program, you'll typically be expected to present a master's thesis.

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

Most online music degree programs focus on music education, music theory or music history. You'll generally study evaluation, school administration, music therapy and behavior in music. Your program also might cover world music, conducting and music as culture. If you're already a teacher, choosing an online program could allow you to complete your master's degree while continuing to work; however, you still might have to attend some on-campus seminars.

What Are the Requirements for an Online Program?

A computer with Internet access is required for online programs. Schools typically provide a secure course website for you to access program materials, such as exams and assignments. This website also might allow you to interact with your instructor through e-mail, chats and discussion forums.