What Degree Do You Need to Become a Singer?

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A college degree could further your singing career in multiple ways.
A college degree could further your singing career in multiple ways. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones started a degree program in economics, but didn't finish. Mark Knopfler, rock and roll singer, composer, musician and producer graduated from University of Leeds with a degree in English. Rap artist Ludacris graduated Summa Cum Laude -- with highest honors -- from Georgia State University. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 37 percent of all workers in the arts and entertainment do not have college degrees. The other 63 percent have at least some college education. While a degree is not required to be a singer, it can help you in many ways.

Types of Degrees

College degrees that directly concern singing are the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Arts, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Some colleges and universities have programs in singing. Many have a music program within which you can choose singing as your specialty. Other helpful degree programs include bachelor's degrees in fields such as Music Education, English Literature and creative writing. A music-education degree will equip you to teach others, and literature has always been closely linked to singing. In fact, early poems, which preceded novels, were referred to as songs, and poets were singers. As you learn how narration, symbolism and metaphor work in literature, your appreciation of song will increase, and you can readily apply what you learn to your interpretation of music and song lyrics. Creative writing will teach you about the musicality of language, as well as how to turn a phrase and create meaningful poems, which translate well to song lyrics.

Time to Sing

Like other degree programs in the creative arts, working on your degree will give you time to practice your craft unfettered by other life responsibilities.Your education may also save you time later. Once you learn why an approach works or does not work, you will make fewer mistakes. In creative fields, music and singing included, learning theory and having the chance to practice with experienced, respected mentors can save years of trial and error. An informed, objective critique is valuable and hard to come by when you're on your own.

Access

A degree program will give you access to advantages that you may not otherwise have. Among other things, it can include internships, practicums and valuable studio time. Your education also represents the chance to learn other aspects of the business, such as producing, promotion and music management.

Networking

Entering a degree program will give you the chance to meet musicians and other singers who will support you in your creative work. Later, they may prove to be valuable connections. Your professors may also open doors for you and internships and practicums will connect you to people who are in a position to hire you. In addition, many creative arts programs bring in distinguished visiting professors. These are people who are practitioners and who have achieved some notable success, perhaps even fame. In a field with many aspirants, your degree can make you more competitive.

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