What Are the Different Types of Music Qualifications?

Tara Barnett

There are many different types of music qualifications, most of which relate to specific types of expertise. For example, it is possible to get academic degrees in fields such as music theory, music history, and music performance. It is also possible to get degrees specific to teaching music or providing music therapy. In some cases, music qualifications take the form of achievements in a specific program, such as the Suzuki program. Most of the time, the instrument or topic in which the individual specializes is identified in the qualifications.

To achieve a music degree, most colleges require students to complete a final musical performance.
To achieve a music degree, most colleges require students to complete a final musical performance.

Some of the most common types of music qualifications are academic degrees focusing on music. In different academic systems, degrees may go by different names. There are bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctorates as well. Sometimes a degree specific to performance may be granted to students who focus on playing an instrument rather than academic accomplishment. While a doctorate degree in music is a qualification to teach music to students, the specific topic the professor is able to teach may differ significantly depending on the aspect of music he or she studied.

Music qualifications can also be specific to a profession, such as teaching a musical instrument. In general, demonstrated experience with an instrument and an aptitude for instruction are all that is needed for private music lessons, but teaching in schools may require special qualifications. Music teachers may need to have educational qualifications in addition to their music experience. When teaching within a certain tradition, membership in that tradition's organization may be required.

Therapeutic qualifications are often quite different from other types of music qualifications, as music therapy requires different skills than performance or academic instruction. Music therapists must typically be board certified in order to practice, and obtaining certification may involve taking special classes. A bachelor's degree in music therapy may be required.

Qualifications in music generally relate to a specific instrument or aspect of music. This is particularly true when performance is an element of the degree. Different schools may not offer qualifications in all instruments, but most offer a wide variety. Final projects for obtaining a degree in performance often involve actual performance.

In addition to the different types of qualifications provided by schools, there are also qualifications gained by participating in special programs and workshops. These qualifications may address a specific type of achievement, such as learning to teach a specific type of music. When pursuing a career in music, any qualifications from a prestigious program can be helpful, even if these qualifications do not lead directly to a degree.

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