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Earning a bachelor's in music can prepare you to find diverse employment in the music industry or in education. If you have vocal or instrumental talent, or enjoy composing music, completing an on-campus or online bachelor's in music program can help you deepen your understanding of the process used to create and produce music.

Want to use your talents to help others? A bachelor's in music program can also provide you with the training needed to share your passion for music with others as a music educator or help people of all ages as a music therapist.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Music Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 3:

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Rank School Location
1 Berklee College of Music Boston, MA
2 Valley City State University Valley City, ND
3 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Music Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Berklee College of Music

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

A private music school founded in 1945 in Boston, Massachusetts, Berklee serves more than 7,000 students. Berklee Online offers three master's degrees and nine undergraduate majors, including a 120-credit interdisciplinary online bachelor's degree in music.

The personalized interdisciplinary studies major requires core music and liberal arts courses; two courses in music business and music technology; and additional classes in music production, composition, and performance. Students may select from courses in touring, artist management, and copyright law and must complete a final capstone project.

Applicants must apply online by submitting a written or video essay, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Berklee uses rolling admissions and notifies applicants within two weeks after applying. Berklee graduates have won more than 250 Grammy Awards.

2

Valley City State University

Valley City, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Founded in 1890, North Dakota's VCSU began providing laptop computers to all students in 1996. Today, VCSU offers two graduate and 11 undergraduate degrees online, including an online bachelor's degree in music. The curriculum includes general education courses, core music courses, music electives, and performance credits.

VCSU's music major requires core courses in music theory, aural skills, conducting, arranging, and music history. Students may take all classes for the music major online, but must complete lessons and ensembles on campus at VCSU or another institution. Music majors prepare a recital, thesis, or composition as a final capstone project.

Applicants must submit an audition to show proficiency in their instrument. Non-resident online students pay the same tuition rate as residents from Western Undergraduate Exchange states.

3

University of Maine at Augusta

Augusta, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 18%

UMA houses more than 85 programs, including 14 online bachelor's degrees. UMA's online contemporary and popular music degree offers concentrations in audio, performance, composition, music education, and sonic arts.

UMA's bachelor's in music requires core coursework in aural skills, music history, music theory, and the music industry. Additional course requirements include composition, piano lab, ensembles, and digital music systems. Seniors complete a senior seminar and a concert or portfolio.

UMA accepts applications on a rolling basis. In addition to completing an online application, applicants must audition in person or by video or submit a portfolio. Auditions should include two pieces and not exceed 10 minutes. Out-of-state distance learners pay a reduced tuition rate.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Music Program?

Creative students with a passion for understanding, creating, sharing, or producing music can excel in a bachelor's in music program.

Earning a bachelor's in music may be a clear option for someone who plays an instrument or is a talented singer, but it can also be an exciting field of study for those without musical talent. Creative students with a passion for understanding, creating, sharing, or producing music can excel in a bachelor's in music program.

Requiring around 120 credits, an on-campus or online bachelor's in music program typically takes four years to complete. Depending on the program, students may earn a bachelor of art in music or a bachelor of science in music:

  • Bachelor of art in music: a liberal arts focus and a good choice for students who would like to dual major, or have a more well-rounded education.
  • Bachelor of science in music: common for learners who want to focus on a specific area of studying music, such as music education or music production.

Regardless of the type of music program, all students pursuing a bachelor's in music should expect to take foundational courses in music theory, music history, and music production.

Within their degree program, students can complete a general music studies degree or they may be able to choose a specific concentration, such as:

  • Music Education
  • Music Therapy
  • Music Production
  • Music Business
  • Performance Music

Programs include music labs, where students practice with instruments, gain practical experience with music therapy or music education, and give performances or final capstone productions.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Music Program?

A bachelor's in music program allows for a diverse field of study. Students may focus on playing an instrument or performance, producing music, or music education. However, regardless of the specific concentration, many programs may feature common classes, such as the ones described below.

Music Business

This course breaks down the business of creating and producing music. From understanding music deals and contracts, to making money as an artist, learners garner an understanding of the music business, including potential career options in the music industry.

Music Theory

Students get an overview of the fundamentals of music. Studying musical notations and learning scales and chords on a piano keyboard, learners create their own melodies using the concepts they learn. This course prepares students with the foundational knowledge needed to be successful in advanced courses.

Music Education

Covering the history of music education, as well as various philosophies in the teaching profession, this type of course helps prepare students to teach music. Coursework examines educational curricula, theories, and music education trends. Many courses require a practicum or other hands-on experience in a school classroom.

Music Performance

Students study musical performances and learn the elements of creating a successful performance. Typically, students must audition for a specific performance style, such as jazz ensemble, vocal ensemble, or orchestra, before beginning their course of study. The class typically ends with a concert or individual performance.

Music Marketing

Starting with an overview of marketing foundations, students learn to create a marketing plan. Participants are introduced to companies within the music marketing industry, and they learn how to work with a marketing team. This course gives an overview of different marketing opportunities for musicians, such as forms of advertisement, merchandising, and touring.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Music Degree?

Studying music allows students to refine their personal craft while preparing for many exciting career opportunities. However, the job outlook for graduates of a bachelor's in music program varies by career.

For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of singers/musicians togrow by just 1% from 2019-2029, making it a highly competitive job market. Alternatively, the need for recreational therapists (including music therapists) isprojected to grow by 8% in that same timeframe.

Interested in finding out more about the career paths available with a bachelor's in music degree?Read our guide to learn more about exciting careers in music.

Music Teacher

Those interested in education can become music teachers, working for private music companies or teaching in elementary or secondary schools. Music teachers plan lessons and work with students on vocal music and/or learning instruments. Becoming a music teacher can also allow musicians to act as independent contractors or to open their own music businesses, providing lessons privately.

Music Therapist

Passionate about helping others? Music therapists provide individualized care based on patient needs. Working with clients to help address emotional, social, and physical needs, a music therapist can find work with a variety of age groups. Music therapists can find employment in schools or with private practices working with small children and school-aged children. They can also find roles at hospice care facilities.

Music Producer

Supervising all aspects of song and album production, a music producer plays an integral role in helping singers and songwriters create successful, marketable music. A music producer works with artists and bands to piece together songs and to create cohesive albums.

Singer

Singers can be solo artists, work in choirs, or provide vocals for a band. Some singers write their own lyrics, while others utilize the talents of songwriters. Depending on the individual's skillset, singers may choose to help promote or market their own music or play a role in the production of their music.

Band Director

A band director is in charge of managing a band and all of its needs, including monitoring member eligibility, scheduling, and simple budgeting. Understanding individual talents and being able to piece them together, a band director manages practices and performances. Employment opportunities may also be available working for secondary schools, colleges or universities, or churches.

Music Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Music Programs

Is an online music degree worth it?

Even if you're a talented musician, earning a bachelor's in music can help deepen your own musical practice and set you apart from other candidates. A degree may be necessary depending on the job you're interested in. For example, becoming a music teacher or music therapist typically requires a bachelor's degree.

What can I do with a bachelor's in music?

There are many career possibilities after completing an on-campus or online bachelor's in music degree. You can pursue singing or playing an instrument, either independently or in an orchestra/band. If you like creating music, you can become a music producer. Alternatively, if you like teaching or mentoring others, you can provide private music lessons or become a music teacher.

How many music majors get jobs?

It can be challenging to determine just how many music majors get jobs, because many work as independent contractors or pursue music in addition to another profession. For example, singers may work a non-music-related position during the day, but sing in clubs or bars in the evenings. Some jobs,such as music and recreational therapists, are projected to see above-average growth in the coming years.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in music degree?

Many professionals who hold a bachelor's in music earn $40,000-$45,000 a year. According to PayScale, music teachers earn average wages of$43,470 annually, while the average salary for musical therapists is$42,220.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in music?

Music producers earn relatively high salaries within the music field. According to PayScale, the average salary for these professionals is $51,000. However, keep in mind that a worker's industry, location, and experience can all impact their earning potential significantly.