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5 Specializations for Music Degrees

Very often, doing a general music degree can open lots of doors career-wise. But sometimes, specializing a degree in music can help to not only demonstrate to potential employers where your real passion lies, but may even be required for specific jobs in the music industry. Here are five specializations for music degrees.


A specialization in composition is often a necessity for some of the higher-paid jobs in composing, like film and game scoring. This specialization requires strong music theory skills, intensive piano study, and a high theory class in either composition or orchestration. Composition can also be an excellent specialization for musicians who want to write music for performers and entertainers.


The music theory specialization is not to be confused with the composition specialization, though oftentimes the requirements are similar. A specialization in music theory is excellent for musicians who might want to pursue a purely academic route in music, such as teaching or textbook planning and writing. Sometimes, a specialization in music theory can lead to some of the same jobs as a composition specialization might, though this is not always the case.


The performance specialization is more complex than many musicians realize – this spec requires extensive classes in not only applied music, but master classes, recital organization and participation, and, for singers, classes in diction and language. In addition to the standard music degree studies in music theory, music history, and aural skills, the musician who chooses a performance specialization will find opportunities to perform in everything from operas to global music recitals. 


If your idea of a wonderful career is teaching music to children or adolescents, music education is the specialization for you. Advanced degrees in music education can also lead to university or college teaching, as well as opportunities to plan and lead master classes in your instrument of specialization. In addition to classes, music education majors must be prepared to spend at least one semester of practicum teaching alongside a certified teacher in a public or private school setting.

Liturgical Music 

Liturgical music is a newly emerging specialization aimed at those who wish to become cantors or choirmasters at churches, synagogues, and mosques. Often, this is a highly demanding specialization that requires not only the standard music degree curriculum, but classes in world religions, languages, and specialty classes in particular forms of sacred music.

Regardless of where your passion lies, one of these music degree specializations – among others you may come across – can open up your path into some of the best-paid jobs in the music industry.

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