March 07, 2012

Non-music Classes That Can Help Your Music Career

If you're a college, or even high school, student interested in the music industry, it can be easy to spend all of your time focused on music, but a well-rounded education may be more important than you think. Whether you're someone looking to tie your regular coursework into your interests or you aren't sure what electives to take, here's a look at some "regular" courses that can help your music industry career.

Sociology is essentially the study or how people behave in groups. Why is this useful? Well, this means you'll have a stronger understanding of the dynamics that take place within an office, a band, or a group of fans. Understanding how people think, behave, and make decisions when they are in a group of people, can help you understand how to market to teens that often value the opinions of their peers. It can help you understand how to effectively take the lead on a group project, or make sure every contributor gets a chance to be heard. Of course, I'm not saying any one sociology class will give you all the answers, but it will give you clearer understanding of group behaviors and tools for working with groups in the future.

Like sociology, psychology classes can help you understand the way people's minds work. It's a great skill to have in general, but especially when it comes to working with creative people. There are several areas of psychology that deal with everything from personality to addictions. Some psychology classes will even combine marketing and psychology and allow you to learn the psychology aspects of advertising and communication. I took one of these classes and it remains one of the most interesting and insightful classes I've ever taken. We learned about things like why we tune out certain advertisements, how to appeal to certain personality traits, and how men and women view things differently.


In a way, a music performance or recording is just a beautiful demonstration of many aspects of physics. Physics determines where to place a microphone, how to build an instrument, and how the sound reaches you when you see your favorite performer. Physics is responsible for the sound of your voice and the fact that microphones actually work. On a similar note, if you're really interested in recording, it also may not hurt to take a few electrical engineering classes to learn how wires, circuits, and all of the gear you work with functions.

I don't just mean you should take the obvious communications classes like radio and writing a press release. Every job requires an ability to communicate on some level and courses in public speaking, writing, broadcasting, and related subjects can help you gain confidence and experience in skills that relate to every job and industry.

Any Business Class
Obviously you know the music industry is a business, so it seems reasonable to that taking at least basic classes in marketing, economics, finance, etc. can help you out. However, these skills aren't just important to those who actually want to work on the business side of things. Business skills like marketing, negotiation, sales, and pricing are good for musicians, producers, engineers, and other creators to know. It allows you to maintain some independence and helps you look out for yourself when it comes to signing contracts or making decisions for your career.

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