District of Columbia Masters in Music On Campus Programs

Performing music is a physical art, so it makes sense to study it in the physical classroom as part of a on campus masters degree in music. Under the tutelage of professors, and by practically applying your knowledge and skills on a daily basis, you could potentially elevate your musicianship to a higher level of performance. Whether you dream of becoming a professional trumpet player, a world renowned conductor, or a revered music educator, a masters in music on campus could be your first step to pursuing those goals. If you’re ready to begin your musical journey to develop your understanding of the craft of musicianship, keep reading below for a comprehensive look into  masters in music on campus programs.

Masters in Music On Campus Programs

Masters in Music On Campus Programs: MM, MFA, or MA

When researching potential on campus masters degrees in music, you may notice that they are commonly offered in the master of music (MM), master of arts (MA), and master of fine arts (MFA), formats. Curriculum might vary between these three masters programs, but each strives to develop students’ artistic capabilities so that they may confidently and capably pursue a role within the musical performance community. While performance in an important aspect of these programs, they also aim to holistically educate students in regards to their chosen art form. This could include offering courses in advanced subjects such as music history and theory, performance techniques, and critique. In addition, students are typically encouraged, if not required, to attend ensemble and individual practicum classes to further develop their musical potential.

Oftentimes, universities offer music education concentrations as an MA degree. This is because these programs often pair the music and education departments to create a joint, comprehensive curriculum that focuses more on pedagogy as opposed to performance studies.

By attending these courses in a traditional classroom as part of an on campus music masters degree program, you may have the opportunity to directly engage with professors and peers alike to foster your growing musicianship. Courses in masters in music on campus programs might allow you to receive valuable critique and advice from professors, that could then be immediately applied to your performance within that same class period. Professors may offer insight into good performance habits, musical technique instruction, and industry contacts that might be unavailable via an online course structure. This particular program format may be perfect for students wishing to develop their musicianship and pursue a performance career post-graduation. The advanced coursework combined with attentive professorial oversight could potentially enhance your capabilities as a performer and prepare you to pursue exciting careers.

Taking into consideration the difference in curriculum, and general variations between universities, students could potentially earn an on campus masters degree in music in 1.5 to 2 years.  Program lengths vary by school.  When applying for these programs, institutions aim to assess not only students’ performance capabilities, but their academic competencies as well. To reflect this, students may be required to submit a 3.0 undergraduate GPA in addition to partaking in in-person auditions. Check with your intended program for a full list of admissions and supplemental materials, such as GRE exams scores and letters of recommendations.

Potential Career Paths With On Campus Masters Degree in Music

Many students who pursue a masters degree in music on campus might choose to jumpstart a performance based career immediately following graduation, but there are also a multitude of other possible career paths to consider.  Depending on your area of study, you could choose to pursue some of the following careers:

  • Musician or Singer[i]
  • Music Teacher[ii]
  • Music Director[iii]
  • Composer[iv]

 

Students specifically pursuing a career in teaching, post-graduation, should be aware that many states require educators to earn a teaching license before being permitted to work in the classroom. Many masters music education programs pair with institutions’ education departments to prepare students to take these licensure examinations. In addition, for entry level positions in music education, many employers require educators to hold a bachelor’s degree. While these are initial requirements, state licensure often requires educators to earn a masters degree to retain the ability to teach. [v] By earning a music masters degree on campus you could preemptively fulfill this requirement and save time while pursuing your professional goals. State requirements and programs vary, so be sure to do your research and follow up individually.

 

Those pursuing performance based careers, on the other hand, may find that there are no specific degree requirements to pursue entry level positions. [vi] While this might be true, employers (especially those working with classical music) often look for candidates that hold a masters degree because it displays a definitive grasp of vital, core concepts such as music theory, composition, and history that may not be part of an undergraduate education.[vii] Earning your on campus masters in music degree might put you one step ahead of the rest!

It’s important to note that those in performance, composition, and directorial disciplines may be hired on a freelance basis, with many musicians being required to frequently audition for new positions. This makes assessing median compensations difficult. With this in mind, performers could potentially earn $26.94 an hour (or $49,030 a year median salary if working part-time),[viii] and directors and composers a median salary of $54,580.[ix] In contrast, music teachers might experience more stable employment and may remain with a single school district for years at a time. Music educators could potentially earn a median of $57,200 a year.[x]

When planning your future professional endeavors as a musician, it’s also important to note where the largest number of available positions may be located. Metropolitan areas such as like New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Anaheim, and Chicago offer the highest rate of employment for musicians in the country.[xi] Opportunities might also be found in rural and suburban areas, but perhaps at a lesser concentration. Before pursuing a musical career, be sure to research locations’ available positions.

Next Steps to Pursue a Master Degree in Music On Campus

A traditional education as part of an on campus masters degree in music might be the push you need to elevate your musical capabilities to the next level. To continue your search for a perfect program, scroll further down this page for a list of potential programs. To view more information about a particular program, click its associated link. While there, push the “request info” button to receive more information from an institution. Good luck finding a perfect masters degree in music on campus!


[i]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm |[ii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm |[iii]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm| [iv]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm |[v]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-4 |[vi]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm#tab-4 |[vii]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/music-directors-and-composers.htm#tab-4 |[viii]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/musicians-and-singers.htm#tab-5 |[ix]bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/music-directors-and-composers.htm#tab-5 |[x]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-5 |[xi]bls.gov/oes/current/oes272042.htm#st

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