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Changing Your Major: Is it the Right Move for You?


Once you have decided that you want to make music your life, you may think that you have it all figured out. You enroll in music school under a particular major and the rest is history. However, as you take classes and talk to more music students, you may decide that it’s time to change your major.

It is very common. Students change their major all the time, and that’s because they’re constantly learning about what else is out there. Thousands of careers exist within the music industry, and you may learn that your talents are stronger in one area than another.

It can be difficult to decide if changing your major is right for you. Much of it is going to depend on why you are changing and what your ultimate career goal is. If you are currently studying performance and have decided that you would rather go into production, then a major change makes a lot of sense.

However, if you are studying a particular instrument and plan on playing that instrument for life, it is often best to stay within the major that you have already declared. That doesn’t mean you cannot learn more about music production, composition, technology, or another topic. You can choose to take a few courses that are offered within those areas or you can declare a minor. This means that you may major in guitar with a minor in music production, which can result in a very well-balanced education.

What you plan on doing following graduation needs to be a top consideration. There may be many things you want to do, so take the time to be realistic about what is going to make you happy and what you can become employed within. Very few people make it as a professional musician, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other careers out there.

You shouldn’t have to give up your passion. It may come down to how much you are already into your current major, what your deadlines are, and what your budget is for tuition. If you are close to finishing the requirements for your major, you may want to finish it out to get the degree and then go back to take the courses for a second major. With two degrees in hand, it could make you a stronger candidate within the music industry.

Remember, too, that music school isn’t the only forum where you can learn. You may want to continue with your degree in music composition and then work with friends to learn more about a particular instrument and “play around” with the idea of another topic before you commit to a new major.

When in doubt, talk to the school counselor about your options. This will allow you to talk about your ideas, hopes and dreams out loud with someone who can guide you through the entire process. You can then decide whether you want to continue with your current major or make the switch to a new one.

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