Should You Work in Music School?

Do you want to work in music school? Should you even get a job in music school?

Hannah B Flute | Should You Work in Music School?

There are many pros and cons to working in music school. So it’s up to you to consider your options and whether you need or want to work.

Pros of Getting to Work in Music School

There are plenty of reasons why you should work in music school. Of course, working is a way to make money. But depending on the job you have, you might even get some relevant career experience.

Here are some advantages you have if you work in music school.

Bring home the bacon

The first pro of working in music school is that you get to make money! We all know how expensive college can be. Anything you can do to bring down the cost is a good thing.

Of course, many jobs that college students can get don’t pay much more than minimum wage. However, it’s still something. You still have more income than if you didn’t work at all.

Also, the internet has given rise to tons of jobs. And you don’t even need to have your degree before you start said jobs. If you like social media or writing, you can work online.

A polished resume

When you finish school, you’ll have to apply for jobs. And most job applications require a resume. Sure, you can share all of your extracurricular activities on your resume.

But nothing beats real world experience in a job. If you work in music school, you can add that experience to your resume.

Depending on your job, that experience could make you stand out from the other applicants.

If you want to work in music school, the best jobs involve music. You could teach private lessons, audition for performance jobs, and more.

Tricky transition

Then there’s the transition from college to after college. When you graduate, your life will change in many ways.

While you’ll probably have to give up an on campus job, you can usually keep any off campus work you have. That can make the transition from student to full time worker easier and less overwhelming.

Your entire life won’t change. But most of it will.

Cons of Getting to Work in Music School

Just as there are advantages to working in music school, there are disadvantages. Anything you add to your schedule, like a job, means that you’ll have less time to focus on practicing or schoolwork.

So, what cons should you expect if you decide to work in music school?

On the clock

Working takes up time. Many jobs require a set amount of hours, even if the specific schedule is flexible. Of course, most student jobs limit how much you can work.

But if you work off campus, you might have to work more. Off campus jobs don’t have to restrict how many hours you work.

And that’s not to mention that you’ll have to factor in getting to and from work. If you live in a city, that commute time can really add up.

Roll with it

Another downside to some jobs is that they aren’t that relevant to your future career. Most of us can’t get private teaching jobs or paid performing gigs.

Sure, graduate students can work as graduate assistants. And students at all levels can work for the music department.

But a lot of people have to take jobs outside of music. You may have to work in retail or food service.

There’s nothing wrong with working those jobs. However, it is something to consider.

Stuck in your college town

Another downside to many jobs is that you may have to stay in your college down during breaks. Or you may not get to go home as early or stay at home as late.

For example, RAs have to show up to campus early, and they have to stay until all of their residents have checked out at the end of the semester.

And if you work off campus, they may not want to give you the full month off for winter break.

Of course, staying in town can be a good thing. You can explore new areas of the city or just have some alone time.

But if you want to visit your family, it gets to be that much more difficult.

Should You Work in Music School?

Having looked at the pros and cons, it’s time to decide if you should work in music school. There are reasons why you should and why you shouldn’t.

Still, you might have to work, regardless of the pros and cons.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to take a job during music school.

Financial woes

Most of us need financial aid to afford college. Be it scholarships, grants, or loans, very few people can afford a degree outright.

And if your financial aid doesn’t completely cover the cost, you’ll have to work and make money to fill in the gaps.

If this is the case, the pros and cons don’t really matter. But you can narrow your search for the best jobs for music school students. Yes, some jobs are better than others.

Next week on…

Another thing to consider is whether you even have the time to work. Of course, you may need the money. But if you have the financial support of your parents, you may want to focus on school.

Music students have to juggle lessons, multiple ensembles, academic coursework, and individual practice time. It’s a lot. And working can put even more stress on you.

If you have a lot going on already, it might be wise to take some time off from work. Also, if your schedule is broken up, you might not have enough time between classes and rehearsals to work.

If your breaks are always an hour or two, that probably isn’t enough time to head to a job.

Your desire

Next, think about whether or not you want to work. Of course, this question should come after you figure out if you need to work and have the time.

If you don’t need to work but you do have the time, you get to choose if you work in music school or not. So if you’re in this position, look back at the pros and cons.

Grad vs. undergrad

Finally, consider your student status. In general, graduate students have fewer courses to worry about, though we still have lessons, ensembles, and personal practice.

Still, I’ve found that I have more free time than when I was in undergrad. That means I can work more than I did back then without being more stressed.

Also, graduate students are usually closer to their careers than undergrads. While I don’t think it’s ever too early to start working, the farther you are in school, the more important it is to get real world experience.


Do you/did you work in music school? What job or jobs have you had? Let me know in the comments!

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