There’s good news about going to college for a music degree. According to the latest findings from a national survey of more than 33,000 arts alumni, arts graduates, including those who studied music performance, are likely to find jobs after graduation and use their education and training in their occupation.
by Caitlin Peterkin
The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) is an organization dedicated to analyzing the impact of arts education. In its online survey, SNAAP asked alumni from fields including performance, creative writing, and film, about employment, relevance of their education to the work they’re doing, and their satisfaction with their education in the arts.
Raymond Tymas-Jones, Associate Vice President for the Arts and Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, praised SNAAP for its efforts in a recent post on ARTSblog. “The information from the survey provides important insight as to how artists develop in this country, helps identify the factors needed to better connect arts training to artistic careers, and allows education institutions, researchers and arts leaders to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni,” he says.
When asked about the skills and competencies acquired during their studies, respondents listed the following transferable skills: critical thinking, creativity, listening and revising, teamwork, broad knowledge, leadership, project management, networking, research technology, entrepreneurial, and writing skills. “Each skill,” stresses Tymas-Jones, “is applicable for any vocation and often provides opportunities for arts majors to be major contributors in any environment.”
Success in employment
Arts graduates have also seen success with employment, with 67% working in the arts. Outside the arts, alumni are employed in a variety of fields, including law, management, computer science, engineering, and communication. Overall, 87% of arts alumni said they were satisfied with their primary job, and 81% had opportunities to create work that makes a difference in their communities.
Tymas-Jones says that the SNAAP findings “confirm that arts schooling is a good economic investment as well as a meaningful ladder to meaningful work.” He goes on to say that SNAAP stats indicate that alums “do not consider that they are without options and opportunities. It is inherent that artists can create for themselves and others through the power of their imagination, creativity, and innovation.”