Nowadays, the media is full of articles arguing whether or not art and creativity trumps realism (and getting a job that pays the bills). As a college or university student, you are given the opportunity to discover what you really want to do with your life, which can be a blessing – or a curse!

Particularly with subjects like music you can be left wondering if choosing your passion will leave you to end up with few career options and a stack of unpaid bills.

Personally I felt like I made the right decision taking a music degree, however many would disagree. So if you are considering being a Music major, here are the five best things you will get out of it.

1. You can learn many new things while honing your craft

While you may already know your favourite areas of music to study, I urge you learn as much as possible. Learn about as many types of music as you can and how it shaped the creative arts into what they are today. This will give you a much better context in terms of your chosen craft, whether it be research in a specific subject, composition and song-writing, sound engineering or performance.

2. You will have access to amazing books, papers, scores and of course, venues and recording studios

I must admit, I may have taken my university’s facilities for granted until I left. I would love to still have access to a state-of-the-art recording studio to produce some of my latest work, or read huge tomes about Luciano Berio’s Sequenze. While to start with you may want to party all the time, remember you are only at university for a few years!

3. You can experiment in areas of music you didn’t know existed

Along with my friends, I was pretty much convinced I knew what I wanted to study during my time at university. My plan was to specialise in Early Music and then move onto opera. To my surprise I reached a plateau after studying Early Music, and I started branching out into 20th Century classical music. This gave me a lot more scope to learn new vocal skills and techniques. I then moved onto electroacoustic music which was what my final recital was based around. I had never even heard of this genre when I started my degree. So, keep an open mind, as you are bound to discover many aspects of music you were not previously familiar with.

4. You can work and collaborate with like-minded people

This is another aspect of my music degree which I unfortunately took for granted. While some of my colleagues in my current job are indeed musicians, most are not. Working with other musicians on research, performance and composition projects is incomparable and should not be underestimated.

5. There are plenty of opportunities for trips, concerts and collaboration around the world

Working with other musicians doesn’t need to be restricted to your own country. I had two fantastic opportunities to tour with my university choir to Germany and China, both of which were unforgettable experiences. These opportunities allow collaboration and exposure to musicians from different cultures all over the world. And because you’re a student, your university will work to make the trips as affordable as possible. Take advantage of these opportunities while you can!

It is important to know that every degree has its pros and cons and Music is no exception. Not everyone suits being a music major – just like being a Chemistry major doesn’t suit everyone!

In my experience, however, the most important part of a Music degree is not necessarily setting you up for a job. It gives you the time and the space to grow as an individual and learn what you want out of life. Your skills can also be applied to hundreds of jobs inside and outside the music industry, being a Music major is far more versatile than many people think.