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Musician Training Programs

Whether you regularly play guitar for patrons in crowded clubs or write songs in your bedroom, music training programs can help you enhance your skills and gain experience. To learn more about a variety of programs in this field, keep reading.

What Kinds of Musician Training Programs Are Available?

Degree programs in music composition, performance and education are offered by many colleges at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Private tutors and local music schools also offer music training lessons and workshops. Whether you're entering a postsecondary program or taking private lessons, you'll usually specialize in a specific instrument, like guitar, piano, violin, saxophone or voice, among others. Related programs may lead to a degree in music production or music business. Some universities offer degrees in music therapy, which is a field of study that explores how music can be used to improve the lives of people who have social, emotional or physical deficiencies.

Program TypesTraining can be received through the form of a degree program at the bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level, private tutoring, lessons, and workshops
Required ExperienceTo pursue a degree, you must often already be highly skilled; tutors and local music schools normally offer lessons for all abilities
Study TopicsReading sheet music, music theory, conducting, critical listening, music composition
Online AvailabilitySome master's degree in the music field are offered online
Median Salary (2018)$28.15 per hour (for musicians and singers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)6% growth (for all musicians and singers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do I Need to Be Experienced?

If you're pursuing a degree in music, you'll need to demonstrate a high level of expertise on your instrument of choice. A live audition is a central part of the admissions process at many schools, particularly for students pursuing degrees in music performance and education. Private tutors often accept students of all skill levels, so experience isn't necessarily required. Similarly, local music schools may offer group lessons or workshops designed for musicians at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

What Will I Study?

By participating in a musician training program, you'll learn how to read and write sheet music, improve your instrumental abilities and perform in collaboration with others. You'll gain hands-on training from instructors, and you'll also gain experience by performing at recitals and concerts. However, the specific topics you'll study will vary from program to program.

For example, in a music performance bachelor's program, you'll take courses in beginning and advanced music theory, critical listening, conducting and applied instrumental techniques. In a music composition master's program, you might analyze jazz songs, explore music research methods and study the development of classical music. Workshops at local music schools are often tailored to specific interests - you could enroll in a group piano class for beginners or a Latin jazz ensemble for advanced students.

Is Online Learning an Option?

Music education master's programs are often available in a distance learning format. Admissions requirements for these programs may include a bachelor's degree in music and current teaching licensure. Some schools also offer online master's programs in music therapy that are designed for board-certified music therapists. Standalone courses that explore different music genres, the fundamentals of music theory and instrumental techniques are available online through a few colleges as well.