New study: Most music grads find a job. But wages are poor.

New study: Most music grads find a job. But wages are poor.


norman lebrecht

March 03, 2016

Two professors at Indiana University have run an employment survey among music graduates at 150 institutions, testing their employability on graduation. They covered two disciplines, music and music education.

Here’s what they found: More than half the students in music performance found related work within four months of graduation, as did 75 percent of music-ed grads.

That’s great. It compares to a national average of 25 percent of graduates finding jobs within their field.

The downside? Pay.

Most people with a music degree wound up earning between $20,000 and $60,000 a year.

Very few earned more.

Read more here.

jacobs school of music indiana


  • christy says:

    Median wage in the US is under $52,000. A musician making $60,000 isn’t doing badly by those standards. Certainly more than many, many make.

    • Alvaro says:

      you dont read this level of stupid every day….Have you ever heard of the word statistics?

      If 60K is the tail end (lets say a couple of standard deviations) of the data, that means that your average salary barely surpasses the poverty level in this country.

      Further, if you look at a big enough data sample of course there will be outliers. I bet there are a couple of millionaires who are high school dropouts: does that mean that dropping out of high school is desirable?

      The only thing the schools of music around the world are extremely efficient in creating are two things: unemployment and underemployment.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        And Musicologist, if past comments are anything to go by!!!!

      • Christy says:

        Thank you for your kind response. As I said, if the median income is $52,000, someone making $60,000 is doing well – as is someone making $50,000, your thoughts about music salaries not withstanding.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Damning factoid from report about college degrees in general:

    “…approximately 1 in 4 students who graduate college in other majors end up working in a field related to their major.”

    • Holly Golightly says:

      I guess people were talking mainly about income relative to this. It doesn’t look good from the figures quoted here. Of course, I don’t know anything about the cost of living in the USA so $60,000 might be a lot. Here you’d earn that as a first rung teacher, ending up on about $85,000pa and with 12 weeks per year PAID HOLIDAYS.

      Come on down!!!

  • MacroV says:

    Apologies for not reading through the actual report, but does it break it down by school? One would expect Curtis/Juilliard/Eastman/CIM (and IU) grads generally to be getting better jobs and therefore earning more than those from, say Slippery Rock University (an actual school). Treating them all the same doesn’t really make a lot of sense.