What Are My Degree Options in Performing Arts?

There are many degree program possibilities for someone who wants a career in the performing arts. Read on for more information about performing arts education at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Schools offering Theatre degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Performing Arts Education Options

Performing arts degree programs in music, dance and theater arts combine theoretical study with performance practice. Education options for performing arts are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. You will typically have the choice of pursuing an arts or fine arts program in your chosen field of emphasis. For example, you may have the option of completing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Theatre Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre Studies. The fine arts program will provide you with a more in-depth focus in your specialization than an arts program. Music options, such as a Bachelor of Music or Master of Music, are also available.

Important Facts About This Field Of Study

Possible Careers Teacher, professional performer
Concentrations Music, theatre, dance
Online Availability Some classes available online, but degree programs are not
Prerequisites Bachelors - high school or equivalent, Graduate - bachelors degree
Median Salary (2018)$69,960 (Postsecondary Art, Drama, and Music Teachers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)12% growth (Postsecondary Art, Drama, and Music Teachers)

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

Bachelor's Degrees

At the undergraduate level, degree programs have broader focuses and include coursework in performance practice and liberal arts. Bachelor's degree programs may offer concentrations in music, dance or drama. Performing arts classes may include theater, music ensembles and audition techniques. Practical experience is gained through the completion of live on stage performances; this will allow you to hone your craft. Actors, dancers and musicians may also have the opportunity to participate in off-campus auditions.

Master's Degrees

Graduate level programs provide more focused education in advanced theories or techniques. Depending on your concentration, you may take classes in stage movement, acting styles, musicology, music theory, dance technique or choreography. Programs provide intensive professional training that will allow you to develop your personal style, as well as experiment with current techniques. At the graduate level, you will also be prepared to teach techniques and styles to others. All performing arts graduate students complete performance requirements.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degree programs are typically for artists who want to teach at the university level. Your doctoral program will be more theoretical than the master's program, examining the philosophical and cultural contexts of your art. A performance component may also be included. Your coursework is tailored to your specific area of interest, and you must conduct in-depth research through a dissertation in some area of music, theatre or other performance studies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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