What do I do with a music degree!?


Sometimes choosing a career in music can feel like an act of courage, as there is no definitive pathway of how you become a musician and what your life in music will be like. As guitarists, we have a lot of possibilities as freelancers, educators, artists, composers, researchers and so on. 

Both students and graduates often go through phases of trying to figure out how they can go about building a career in music for themselves. See below interviews from our alumni on their experiences as being working guitarists who juggle their music projects, post graduate studies, and teaching commitments.



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How well did your music course prepare you for life after graduation?

It was good. The teachers/lectures were great and the subject material was also great. I found myself wanting to be apart of the jazz scene and the course during my time was probably not directing people that way. At least not en mass. Consequently I didn’t know a lot of people who would be my professional peers later.

What was the biggest hurdle for you after you graduated, and how did you overcome it?

Meeting my contemporaries in the professional world. I therefore tried to get out to gigs and meeting people, book people I don’t know for gigs and be present on social media etc.

How was your path evolved as you have built a career for yourself? How have your ideas changed about being a musician since you graduated?

I’m more comfortable with what music I like and why I like to play it. Also with what i have to offer and what i don’t.

What advice would you give to students considering tertiary studies in music about building a music career?

Go with a plan, something that you want to learn about or a specific career goal. Anything to give the course meaning and direction beyond your grades which may or may not be of importance, depending on you goals.

If being a performing musician is your goal, a degree won’t make that happen. It will give you opportunities to help that happen but its still on you. Getting to gigs, meeting people, learning about music, participating in the music community etc, are all things you can do without the degree. Ideally, you should already be doing this. 

The degree can give you time and incentive to learn and explore ideas that you might not have even contemplated the possibility of, which is very important. Also the opportunity to meet and develop strong friendships with like minded people which is sometimes harder to do in the professional world.

Try to be a useful musician, not the best one. One doesn’t necessarily preclude the other.