Online Music School
While students interested in learning to play instruments are not able to accomplish this by attending online music school, they can obtain degrees in music theory, music production and music composition, all knowledge bases that greatly contribute to experiencing a successful career in the music industry. A few job possibilities for individuals with music degrees include:
- Music professor
- Recording studio producer
- Orchestral musician/conductor
- Music critic
- Sound technician/audio engineer/digital sound specialist
- Performing arts manager
For people who already know how to play an instrument, taking online music school classes enhances their comprehension of music’s harmony, structure, form, rhythm, style and even the mathematical principles underlying music theory. The field of music theory also concerns music notation, such as clefs, meters, staffs, intervals, key and time signatures and rests. Although someone who plays an instrument may already by aware of these concepts, courses involved with obtaining a degree in music apply more in-depth analysis of these topics. Writing critical essays and research papers integrating a philosophical approach to music theory is expected of students who pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music.
Bachelor’s Degree in Music
Successful completion of a four-year music program involves classes regarding musicology/history of music, advanced music theory, varieties of ethnic music, digital music production, composition/methodology and music in advertising. With a BA in music, students may pursue employment as booking agents or managers of musicians, bands or other music-related entities; music publishing; recording studio production; music promotion and marketing; music coordinator or working as a professional instrument player for an orchestral band.
A recent job development in the field of music that many holders of music bachelor degrees are pursing in that of music therapist. Considered an “expressive” therapy in the allied health profession industry, music therapy consists of using music to help people affected by emotional, physical or mental problems. It incorporates musical acoustics, comparative musicology, music theory, biomusicology and psychoacoustics with clinical therapy principles in an attempt to improve patients suffering from major depression, physical immobility, autism and cognitive issues. In addition to a music degree, music therapists will also have associate or bachelor degrees in psychology or physical therapy.
Master’s Degree in Music
After receiving a BA in music, students may elect to further their education by seeking a master’s degree. Online music schools offering master’s programs provide specialized courses for students intending to work in a narrow field involving the music industry. A Master of Music (M.M) is a graduate degree that is a more academically inclined and reserved mainly for teachers, composers, conductors and researchers. Taking one to two years to complete, the M.M generally includes such courses as progressive music theory, music history and music pedagogy.
Obtaining an M.M. requires students perform at least one recital, pass a comprehensive examination and submit a thesis (if mastering in research or teaching). Some schools ask that the student provide a lecture accompanying the recital that demonstrates the student’s knowledge concerning the compositional concepts, historical relevance and music theory of the recital piece. Recipients of the Master of Music degree often have careers in vocal or instrument instruction or directors of non-profit organizations pertaining to music-oriented programs.
Online Music Schools
The college of Fine Arts at Boston University offers online M.M. degrees and D.M.A degrees (Doctor of Musical Arts) using video presentations and lectures as well as online discussion forums, assignments and readings. As a course designed primarily for educators, BU’s music program provides instruction in music technology, arrangements, cultural perspectives regarding jazz, blues and ethnic music and music education research. A quantitative research method course is also integrated with the curriculum to supplement investigative procedures utilized when writing a historical research paper.
Colorado State University also presents an online program for music students specifically desiring employment as a music therapist. Instruction on how to apply music to people suffering from various neurological disorders is emphasized, along with music of the romantic era, nonparametric statistics, analytical techniques and data/design methods.
Berklee College of Music
This online music school provides certification programs in over 50 different areas of music such as:
- Electronic music production
- Bass/keyboard/guitar and drums
- Home recording
- Music production
- Music theory
- Voice and harmony
Program lengths range from six months to two or three years, with both non-credit and credit courses available to fit any schedule. Berklee does not accept government-based educational financial aid but does allow tuition payments made by check, PayPal, wire transfer or credit card. Tuition assistance may be given to individuals who are eligible and working for a company that also provides educational assistance.
Assignments are given weekly and take around seven to eight hours to complete, depending on the student’s experience and course level. Maximum class size at Berklee is 20 students or less. In addition, the Berklee College of Music grants continuing education credits for individuals needing supplementary courses in order to maintain a certification or degree in a certain field of music.
Other online music schools include the University of Southern Mississippi, Indiana University, Wyndham Academy of Music and Eastern Michigan University.
The National Association of Schools of Music
In addition to the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and the Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission, online music schools should be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, or NASM. With over 600 conservatories, colleges, schools and universities as members, NASM is responsible for establishing national standards for bachelor, master and post-doctorate degrees as well as certifications and other credentials. Recognition by NASM is obtained by a process of peer reviews examining curriculum and administrative aspects of the school in question.
For a listing of online music schools accepted by NASM, visit the website containing accredited institutional members.
Cost of Attending an Online Music School
Depending on whether students pursue certifications or advanced degrees, the price of tuition can range from less than $1000 for a one year program to $5000-$10,000 per year when enrolled in a two, four or six year program. Numerous music scholarships are also available, such as the National Federation of Music Clubs Scholarships, the ASCAP Foundation or the Miriam Hoffman Scholarship.
Job Outlook for Music Majors
As with most liberal arts majors, music is a highly competitive industry that has job opportunities only for the brightest, most talented students who successfully complete a music degree program. Due to music being an occupation that attracts millions of creative people, obtaining a degree in music does not mean you will be able to work in a desired position. Many music students must take jobs on the periphery of their major or completely outside the scope of music in order to earn a living.