The Best Music Colleges to Jump Start Your Music Career

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Written By Tanya

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Many musicians choose to take a different path in this world of financial hardship. They work hard and try to get exposure, but they also fund their modest income by working at wait tables or other low-paying jobs.

This is not a judgment statement. You have to do what you want to do.

Why not take it easy and become a music business professional while making some serious money?

This will allow you to really fund your projects and also give you access to the people who can help you get the best exposure and deals. Many pop stars who are now well-known have written songs for pop stars in the past.

Instead of trying to fight the crowd, they walked into the scene from the inside. They didn’t even have to live on ramen noodles as they did it.

Today, we will be discussing music business colleges. These colleges are designed to prepare you for the job of a music professional in an environment that supports artists and the infrastructure that allows the industry to thrive.

This is the fastest track to a decent, if not extravagant, living. It doesn’t matter if your immediate goal or stepping stone to gaining exposure for your music are in the music business.

Most people are able to go college after high school. You meet new people, make memories and get a degree to help you find a job. It’s quite a different experience for music lovers.

We know what we want to learn. We know why. We are committed to the advancement and pursuit of music.

We want to be able to go fast and get inside the industry, making a living doing it.

We are already closer to becoming a major artist than any other person because of the networking we did at school and on the job.

The question is: Which school should you attend and what degree should you get?

What you need to know about music business schools

Before we dive into specific schools or programs, there are a few things that we need to quickly clarify.

WHAT DOES MUSIC COME OUT OF?

Without context, this can be confusing. Many people think we’re only talking about the business side in the music industry when we refer to schools. But it’s just as if we were talking about the “music business in general”.

This is not only about accounting, trademarks, copyrights and management. While that is a significant part of the equation, it doesn’t cover everything. We are referring to everyone from concert promoters to record producers. Mixing engineers, songwriters and radio disc jockeys are all included. Entertainment attorneys are also included.

DO I REALLY NEED A DEGREE OR ACCREDITATION?

It all depends on what your goal is. It is required by some companies and certain jobs. Without credentials, you can’t claim to be an attorney who licenses music to Hollywood.

You can still be a songwriter and recording engineer even if you don’t have a music industry degree. There is no oversight committee to regulate it. Either you’re good at it and do the job well, or you don’t.

While there might not be a formal education requirement for some music industry jobs, it is expected that you have at least some experience. The only way to do that is through internships or hands-on labs at a school.

Music Business Colleges: The real benefit

You will need to be accredited with a degree or certificate in order to get into the music industry. However, this route has many benefits.

These are the main benefits.

LOCATION & VOCATION

Nearly every university has music programs. You might find a program that focuses on music theory, theater, and jazz. There may also be a radio station nearby where you can work, but that’s about it.

Recitals are a part of your job, but there is nothing you can highlight on your resume that will impress an employer. We recommend that you attend a college or school that is exclusively focused on music and not other subjects.

They are located in the sweet spot. In order of importance, the four major cities in the music industry are:

  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Nashville
  • Chicago

These schools are great places to go to because of the relationships they have with companies to help them not only place interns, but also to hire employees after graduation. You will find a lot of extracurricular activities.

Schools in large cities such as Miami offer similar opportunities. Even schools not listed here will give you great opportunities to work in recording studios and concert halls. If you have the ability to swing it, you will be able to do well with the top four schools.

NETWORKING AND RELATIONSHIPS

A major city college or school is also a great place to network. Your cohort will be the first group, which includes your peers who are also playing in the game.

All of you will go into the music industry together, and you’ll all call on those you trust and know when you have a need. This is why university students join secret societies and fraternities. These relationships are more valuable than anything money can buy.

Your professional contacts will make up the second group of relationships. Your professors are able to spot the stars and offer special assistance.

You will have the opportunity to interact with major labels’ guest lecturers and make your mark. It’s possible to never know what incredible opportunity may knock on your door if you’re not in the right spot.

EXPERIENCE WORK

Last but not least, we must mention that you won’t have any choice but to jump over a barrier that others may never be able. This is professional experience before being able have professional experience.

How do you apply to a position at entry level that requires you have previous experience? A music business school is the best way to get started.

Internships are something everyone knows about, but many people don’t realize that schools and companies work together to provide placements exclusively for students. Even if you are the local star, it doesn’t mean you will get the internship ahead of someone who is enrolled at the school. This is key to getting the “fast track” I have been referring to.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work a lot (keep track of which projects and how many hours you contribute!) As an assistant in a recording studio. Opportunities to promote local recitals, operas, and concerts.

The marketing and business aspects of the college radio station as well as the school’s website will be yours. Although extracurricular activities are plentiful, they are only available to students. You can accumulate them to improve your resume.

The Best Music Business Schools

There are many high-quality schools available for musicians who want to enter the music business.

Unfortunately, we are unable to list all of them or talk about more than one. We can point you in the right direction, which is the better news.

Below are some details about some of the best schools, including their degree programs. [Edit: Tool removed]

I will not go into detail but I would like to give you some additional options. These are very competitive, so they have limited enrollment.

  • Belmont University, Nashville, TN – Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business
  • The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro (TN)
  • The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, NYU, New York, NY
  • Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
  • University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
  • Five Towns College, Long Island, NY

A few notes on the above… Mike Curb founded Curb College. His greatest accomplishment is likely his position as president of MGM Records.

Saint Rose has a unique feature. To graduate, you must complete an album. You and your classmates will do this in the Saints & Sinners studio. MTSU, which is located near Nashville, is well-known for offering top-of the-line internships and everything else. If this is the path you are interested in, it’s worth looking into.

Finally, we offer a list of the top music business schools to help you make a decision. Berklee College of Music is the most well-known.

They even have incubators for entrepreneurs to assist students in starting labels, rather than fighting for jobs at the last major labels. Berklee is home to many famous figures in the industry, both old and new.

NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music & Performing Arts Professions offers an amazing music business program, with many opportunities centered around Village Records. You’ll be able to study composition, performance and technology with a special focus on Jazz, Music Theatre and Classical.

Music Business Schools: Typical Courses and Electives

Some schools offer Associate’s degrees in music business, while others provide a Bachelor’s degree in music business.

Even those with little to no experience in music or music theory will find this track suitable. While you can choose electives to help you learn this, the majority of your focus will be on technology and business.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE MUSIC BUSINESS

You’ll be able to take courses like:

  • Introduction to Business
  • Studio Music Recording
  • Music Production
  • Intro to Marketing
  • Music Industry Entrepreneurship
  • More…

These will make you ready for a variety of careers, including a radio or wedding DJ, a music marketing assistant and tour promoter, sessions musician and many others. This is the halfway point to the next step.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE MUSIC BUSINESS

The completion of this four-year-long study will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the industry through courses like:

  • Introduction to Music Business
  • Intro to Music Marketing
  • Business Law
  • Principles of Business Management
  • Music Publishing
  • Recording Techniques
  • Copyrights & Intellectual Property
  • More…

This degree covers the foundation and allows you to pursue careers such as artist manager, record label executive or music publisher. It also opens up the door for entertainment lawyers and other related professions.

MASTERS IN MUSIC BUSINESS

If you are determined to go the extra mile, you can get your masters degree. You’ll be able to study subjects such as:

  • Emerging Music Markets
  • Concert Management
  • Artist Management
  • Music Industry & Law
  • Management & Leadership
  • Financial Accounting
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Business ethics
  • More…

This degree program will prepare you for a variety of career options, including those as a Record Label Owner, Talent Management Supervisor or Publishing Executive. Music business is just one of many majors that you can pursue. Make sure you are aware of all the possibilities.

Music Business Schools can be fun to attend

This is the fast track, as I have said. This is the fastest way to get to know the people and gain the skills required to enter the industry. Even if you don’t want to become a pop star or a musician, there is no better way to get there.

You will be able to adapt faster to the realities of business if you have the experience and credentials from the top music business schools. This is something you should seriously consider if you are serious about the business.

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