Music - Performance

What to expect from a career Performing Music

Musicians and performers are among the most disciplined and dedicated professionals out there. Hours are spent perfecting their skills – not because they have to, but because it’s their passion. The music industry is highly competitive, but with the right training and education it’s possible to get ahead of the competition. Ontario college music performance programs provide students with the practical training and theoretical music knowledge they need to succeed in this demanding industry.

If you have a passion for music and want to make a career out of performing or teaching, here’s what you need to know.

Music Performance Courses

Music performance programs at Ontario colleges are taught by highly skilled musicians and artists who provide students with the best instruction possible. Programs usually fall into one of two areas:

  • Music Performance. Course subjects include ear training, harmony, conducting, teaching and music history. Students are placed in ensembles to learn the fundamentals of a variety of musical groups, and will rehearse, perform and receive guidance and feedback.
  • Music Theatre Arts. Courses not only focus on music, but also on acting, dancing and general theatre performance skills. Voice technique, improvisation and musical theory are just some of the specific courses that prepare students for a career in theatre.

Students will spend ample time practicing, working on theatrical performances and enhancing their performance skills, whether they use a cello, guitar, piano, their voice or other musical instrument.

Some music programs offer field placements, but in all programs, practical performance experience is gained through concerts and showcases hosted by students.

Music Performance Program Requirements

Music performance programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Degree programs also require six grade 12 U or M courses.

Auditions are a significant part of the admissions process. Students may also be required to submit recordings, resumes and proof of music experience to be considered. Individual program requirements vary, so be sure to check them carefully.

Music Performance Jobs and Salaries

The most common jobs for music performance graduates are performing artists and music teachers. As a performing artist, you may find a career with symphonies and bands or sign on with recording, television, film and other entertainment-related companies. You could also work in theatre, combining musical performance with dancing and acting. Job openings in other music-related businesses, including radio, publishing, production and retail, may also be an option.

If you decide to teach music, opportunities are available in public schools, conservatories, private music schools, colleges and more. Many graduates choose the entrepreneurial route, teaching from home or starting their own businesses.

The average starting salary in music performance is between $21,000 and $31,000 per year. Small record labels and productions typically don’t pay very well (especially at the start), but graduates can expect to make more when they become established or get a break with a big theatre company or label.

Ontario Colleges Offering Music Performance Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of music performance programs at Ontario colleges. 

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