Study Music Abroad

Study Music Abroad

In the kitchen, while driving, in a café, in the office or in the disco – music is omnipresent. For most people, life would be gray and boring without the tunes on the radio or MP3 player.

But for many it is not enough just to consume music. Over 1.3 million students are currently learning to play or sing an instrument at German music schools. Some decide to turn their hobby into a profession : 70,000 people in Germany earn their living with music. This group of people includes:

  • Singer
  • Instrumentalists
  • Music producers
  • Composers
  • Music manager
  • Music journalists
  • Music teacher

Most of them get their education at a music college or university.

Degree programs in music

According to, the courses in the field of music are as multifaceted as the music itself. Basically, however, a distinction can be made between scientific-theoretical and artistic-creative courses. In artistic-creative courses, the focus is on mastering an instrument, singing or composition.

Scientific-theoretical courses

In Germany, the academic-theoretical courses of study are grouped under the heading of musicology . This subject generally includes the three sub-areas :

  • Music history
  • Systematic musicology
  • Ethnomusicology.

So the students research:

  • the historical development of (Western European) music
  • the physiological and psychological requirements for making and listening to music
  • the social functions of music
  • the musical cultures outside of Western Europe

Which of the three sub-areas of musicology is in the foreground depends on the research focus of the university and the focus of the students. In addition to the three main subjects, many universities also offer subjects such as music management or music therapy. The master’s courses then offer students the opportunity to specialize in one of the three sub-areas or another focus.

Artistic and creative courses

Those who do not only deal theoretically with music, but primarily want to make music themselves , are more likely to find themselves in an artistic course.

Instrumental music

The most popular subject is instrumental music . At the beginning of their studies, the students decide on an instrument that they want to focus on during their studies. In the course of the course, the aim is to expand musical skills on this instrument. There are also seminars in the field of musicology on the curriculum.

At most universities, students can choose between an artistic and creative focus or an educational focus in the course of their studies. Students with an artistic focus prepare for a career as a musician: They develop their own projects, appear at public music performances and take courses on copyright or contract law. Students with a pedagogical focus, on the other hand, learn the didactic and pedagogical skills they need in order to later become active as music teachers.

Study singing

For those who are more interested in singing than a musical instrument, there are courses in the field of singing . There it is primarily about the professional training of the voice . Piano lessons, acting lessons and theoretical subjects such as music history are also part of the course. As in the instrumental music courses, students in the higher semesters can choose between an artistic-creative and an educational focus.


In composition , students start by choosing an instrument or singing. In the course of study, however, the focus is not only on musical techniques, but also on composition. In addition, the students are trained in subjects such as ear training, choir conducting and music theory. Depending on the university, they can then focus on, for example, composing electronic music or instrumental music.

Study genres of music

Those who prefer a certain genre of music also have the option of taking courses in pop music or jazz . The students decide on a major at the beginning of their studies. This can be singing or a specific musical instrument. In the course of their studies they learn to play individually and in a band, have their first appearances and also receive theoretical background knowledge.

Here, too, students in the higher semesters often have the opportunity to choose an artistic-creative or an educational focus. In the area of ​​pop music in particular, there are also courses with an economic focus, for example music management or music business .

Master’s degree

Students who have demonstrated special artistic aptitude in a practically oriented bachelor’s degree can further develop their musical skills as part of a master’s degree. The artistic-creative master’s programs are about developing your own musical style and refining the technical techniques.

Many also decide to take a master’s degree with a pedagogical focus in order to train to become a music teacher. In addition, there are master’s programs in which students can specialize in composition, production or music therapy .

Requirements for studying music

Those who want to study music should first and foremost have musical talent. In the practical artistic degree programs, students are expected to have a good command of at least one musical instrument at the start of their studies . As a rule, applicants have to prove their skills in an entrance examination. Often, the applicant’s knowledge of music theory is also part of this examination. Aspiring singers sometimes have to present a medical certificate attesting their physical ability to study singing.

Occupational fields for graduates of a degree in music

Most graduates of artistic and creative music courses work as freelance musicians . They produce their own pieces of music and perform with a band or as a solo artist. Since this trade is very tough, many have a second professional pillar. For example, you are temporarily hired for individual productions at theaters, opera houses, radio stations and television companies or as musicians in recording studios.

In particular, graduates who have completed a degree with a pedagogical focus are also active as private music teachers or as teachers at music schools . Graduates with an economic focus often work as music or event managers . Other graduates of scientific-theoretical study programs work, for example, in music publishers or music archives or take on editorial activities at radio and radio stations or specialist magazines. You also have the option of adding a doctorate to your master’s degree and embarking on an academic career .

Advantages of studying music abroad

Music is not tied to national borders. Studying abroad offers students of creative courses the opportunity to get to know other musical cultures and styles and thus expand their own artistic repertoire. Budding music managers have the chance to get to know the international music business and make initial contacts in a semester abroad . But musicology students also benefit from a semester abroad: Additional qualifications such as foreign language skills and intercultural skills can make entry into the job market much easier.

Study Music

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