North American universities where employable creative arts graduates are made
The best creative arts degrees today are relevant, innovative and experiential. Source: Augustana School of Music

With the pandemic shuttering entertainment venues across the world, it may seem that a degree in creative arts is a one-way ticket to unemployment. This could not be further from the truth. 

In the UK, the area of creative arts and design is going through a renaissance in popularity — in other words, “booming.” There are more jobs created in these fields and employers are fast seeing the value in the knowledge, skills and experience artists bring.

This is because these are backed by the critical thinking skills so crucial to many industries transitioning into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Machines can never replicate our creativity, communication and collaborative skills — the very areas that creative arts graduates specialise in. Add social media savviness, self-marketing, a robust digital skillset, a wide network and the stamp of a reputable university on your degree, and arts graduates will not just survive, but thrive even in the most trying times.

If you seek a music education that encompasses all of the above, consider these US universities:

Augustana School of Music

Source: Augustana School of Music

Augustana School of Music embraces the intersections of music and technology with the Midco Media Center and the Pederson-Homan Centre, a Mac lab dedicated for student multimedia production. Source: Augustana School of Music

At the Augustana School of Music, young artists will see their talents resonate perfectly in-tune with commercial demands. Just ask any of the graduates that emerge from its Sioux Falls, South Dakota campus — these are dynamic artists with the knowledge, skills and experience to amplify their talents through their abilities to conceive of a project, write the business plan navigate the copyright licensing, and then produce the entire project. It’s what the industry demands of today’s creative content producers and Augustana graduates meet this head-on.

Helmed by Dr. Peter Folliard as its inaugural dean, expert faculty members make this possible through a potent combination of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

A new interdisciplinary degree programme — Multimedia Entrepreneurship — focuses on music, combining Avid Learning Partner’s official courses in Pro Tools, Media Composer, and Sibelius, with a supporting curriculum in music and business. It bolsters Augustana School of Music’s nationally accredited music curriculum in partnership with the Berklee College of Music and Avid Technology, and is ultimately made possible by the Midco Media Campus and Production Centre, a “tech sandbox” for students to explore audio, video, music, podcasting and broadcasting.

Students are set for a programme and experience like no other in the region. No other university in the Midwest has an offering as such, ensuring Augustana School of Music graduates stand out with unique skillsets to make the most of student and career opportunities. What sets the programme further apart is its outstanding faculty combined with world-class facilities and state-of-the-art technology. To start your bold future in the arts, learn more here.

Baylor University School of Music

If you seek an inspiring music education of the highest quality in a tight-knit, caring community committed to Christ, consider Baylor University School of Music. Virtually all aspects of music and performance programmes are offered here, including Strings, Orchestras, Voice, Opera, Choirs, as well as Piano and Organ.

Ask graduates and many will enthuse about the “Baylor experience.” With approximately 375 students studying with 65 full-time faculty and up to 20 supplemental professional adjuncts, it offers the perfect size and environment. This means it is large enough to offer comprehensive degree programmes that lead to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, performance and academic areas of music, and doctoral programmes in church music.

Opportunities abound too. You get to participate in top ensembles — open to all, not just PhD students. You’ll have full-time faculty members, instead of graduate students, as teachers, regardless of major. You’ll have facilities for private lessons, academic classes, individual and chamber music practice, and media/technology instruction. In the Crouch Fine Arts Library in Moody Library, a large collection of music books, scores, and recordings will be at your disposal.

Yet, for all these big school perks, you’ll never just be another number on campus. Baylor University School of Music has the right size and resources to devote individual attention to each student. You’ll have personalised attention in classes thank to its 5:1 student ratio.

“Baylor’s School of Music prepared me for a great music career; its world-class faculty was always available to share their expertise and provide meaningful advice,” shares Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony and NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon.

University of California, Berkeley: Department of Music

Source: University of California, Berkeley

The UC Berkeley’s Department of Music is the oldest and most prominent in the US. Source: University of California, Berkeley

Home to a renowned group of composers, scholars, and performers, the UC Berkeley’s Department of Music is the oldest and most prominent in the US. Here, undergraduates and graduates excel in their programmes of study by gaining inspiration from public concerts and lectures held in Hertz Hall, Morrison Hall, within university spaces, and across the state.

Here, every music major will complete the Musicianship Placement Exam before beginning their journey. The Department grants a BA degree in music and a minor in music.

Each curriculum is designed in line with the interests of a diverse student body. For example, a major might serve as pre-professional training for a student seeking a career in music or an endless source of enrichment for other career goals.

Its graduate programmes are just as enriching, with MA or PhD options in composition and scholarship. The latter offers options in musicology and ethnomusicology.

Student Lilly Ocampo Alvarez finds the music programme here “very flexible in allowing a student to explore different aspects of the musical world.” Through coursework, she can build an education that satisfies her individual interests and ambitions. 

“We begin by learning your vital musicianship, harmonic, and performance skills, and continuing by exploring the more specific fields of composition, ethnomusicology, and performance,” she says. “There is something for everyone at the Music Department of UC Berkeley, and together, students and staff are working to further expand options to our education.” 

Our undergraduate options provide a variety of ways to study music—from dynamic and intensive training to prepare you for professional performance to interdisciplinary studies that allow you to explore music in the context of other fields.

Dalhousie University: Fountain School of Performing Arts

The Fountain School of Performing Arts offers a variety of ways to study music. You can choose from dynamic and intensive training that prepares you for a professional performing career or to explore music in the context of other fields in a more interdisciplinary manner.

The Bachelor of Music covers performance, composition, theory, musicology, and more. Learning is hands-on here, allowing students to gain poise, discipline, creativity, collaboration, empathy, and the ability to think on one’s feet. They also build a foundation of transferable skills for graduates to take their careers in and beyond the performing arts.

The Bachelor of Arts, Music combines the core elements of the BMus with interdisciplinary studies. There is an Honours version of this, as well as options to combine a specific Science subject with musical training or to pursue a BA (20 credits) and an honours BA through the University of King’s College. 

The school also offers study abroad opportunities. Students can go to an exchange programme with the University of Newcastle School of Arts and Cultures through the International Centre for Music Studies (ICMuS). If they prefer a more European adventure, they can join the Advanced Seminar in Baroque Culture, held in Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Czech Republic, where they will explore topics such as opera, theatre, history and politics.

The school is welcoming students back in person from fall 2021 after more than a year of virtual classes. “Although I am thrilled by our digital successes, nothing gives me more joy than to welcome our students and friends from the community back to the Arts Centre, and especially to our brand-new Seymour Street wing,” says Director of the Fountain School of Performing Arts Dr. Jérôme Blais. 

“This addition will host the 300-seat Joseph Strug Concert Hall as well as rehearsal spaces and teaching studios. We are so excited that it will also host our Costume Studies program, which has been located off-campus for many years.”

Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International