What Can You Do With a BA in Music?

Drummer preparing to play music

Music is food for the soul. It inspires the heart, stimulates the brain and elevates the mood. If you have a passion for music and a desire to turn that passion into a meaningful career, consider earning your BA in music.

Before you head off to college, it is helpful to have a general idea of the music careers that most appeal to you. This is because there are many different paths to earning a BA in music, and each can lead to different job opportunities in the music industry. If you are not quite sure yet about your career goals, review the following career possibilities and consider talking to your high school guidance counselor.

Private Instruction Teacher

For many people who are passionate about music, sharing that passion is important. A private instruction teacher helps students learn music and how to play instruments. Instead of in a group setting, these teachers get to teach students one-on-one and give them hands-on expertise to better their musical skills.

This career can be especially rewarding because you get to watch as your students improve and become better at their instrument. Coaching your students in music allows you to be in a field that is promoting the arts in the future.

Music Director

Students with exceptional leadership skills may consider becoming a music director. A musical director has the responsibility of directing musicians, making executive decisions and ensuring that a performance runs smoothly with the best results. Some important abilities for a music director to have include:

  • Communication: A music director must be able to communicate clearly with their team so that everyone knows what their part is and how to perform it successfully.
  • Decisiveness: Music directors must make decisions about how music is played and performed. It is also important that directors be able to make quick decisions and strong decision making if a plan should fall through or something should go wrong.
  • Creativity: Music takes creativity. Being creative with performances and sounds can really allow you to stand out in your career.


If you love the music found in movies and TV shows, then consider a career as a composer for media. Composers have the exciting task of writing music for various media including film, television, advertising and other productions. Working with other members of their team such as directors, musicians, editors and performers is extremely important for a composer.

Composer must be able to take inspiration and write music that fits within their project. They need to have a solid understanding of music and be able to write music so it adds the correct tone to their media. Some composers may work for companies. However, there are many freelance composers who work on projects as they come.1

You may recognize the names of some of these famous media composers who have taken their love for music and turned it into a successful career of writing music:

  • John Williams: John Williams is a very popular composer. Even if you do not know his name you are likely to recognize his work in films such as “Jaws”, “Jurassic Park”, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerers’s Stone” and “The Rise of Skywalker”.2
  • Hans Zimmer: Hans Zimmer is another composer whose music is widely known and appreciated. He works at DreamWorks studios as head of the film music division. He worked on scores for movies such as “Inception” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.3
  • Michael Giacchino: Michael Giacchino is a talented well-known composer in the movie industry. He has composed for hit films such as “Up”, “Coco”, “Spiderman: Far from Home” and “Super 8”. Giacchino has also worked in the television and gaming industry. “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor” are two games where he was able to use his musical abilities.4
  • Pasek and Paul: Pasek and Paul consists of the duo Benj Pasek & Justin Paul who have written for popular films and stage productions. Their work on “The Greatest Showman”, “La La Land” and “Dear Evan Hansen” has won multiple awards and hit top numbers on billboard charts.5
  • Rachel Portman: Rachel Portman is a British composer. Her work on the movie “Emma” won her an academy award, making her the first female composer to hold this award. More recently she composed for the Disney movie, “Godmothered”.6

Music Teacher

Do you aspire to help the next generation of young students express themselves through music? To become a music teacher, you will need to choose your BA in music carefully. Look for a degree program that leads to initial teacher licensure. Such a program will teach you everything you need to know about both music and pedagogy, and it will also enable you to pursue licensure after graduation.

Music teachers can work in several settings. Some work in postsecondary institutions, while others prefer to work with younger students at the elementary, middle or high school levels. Some music teachers are entrepreneurs, setting up their own music schools or music tutoring businesses.

The College of Fine Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University has a long history of outstanding education in the performing arts, including music. Students can choose from several options for earning a BA in music, including the following: Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Instrumental Performance, Bachelor of Arts in Music Education–Choral: Piano (leads to initial teacher licensure) and Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Voice Performance. Click on Request Info to learn more. 

Retrieved From:

1Khan Academy, What does a composer for media do? In March 2021.

2John Williams.Org, John Williams: Filmography in March 2021.

3Hans Zimmer, Hans Zimmer Team in March 2021.

4Michael Giacchino, Michael Giacchino Projects in March 2021.

5Pasek and Paul, Pasek and Paul About in March 2021.

6Rachel Portman, Rachel Portman in March 2021.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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