Musicians, unlike many professionals, do not need to complete formal academic training to embark on musical careers, although some earn associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees in related fields. Most musicians find professional work through practicing, playing and learning on their own. However, completing musical degree programs provides musicians with advanced training, such as fine-tuning techniques and understanding the nuances of musical theory and composition.
Musicians fall into four categories based on area of expertise. These groups include singers and musicians, instrument repairers and tuners, composers and conductors and music teachers. Having a formal education gives musicians of all specialties technical advantages over untrained peers, and may increase networking opportunities.
Musicians take courses and classes to earn various kinds of academic degrees. Associate's degree programs offer coursework in areas of musical theory, ear training, music history and music composition and production. Students receive an education in history and theory, and they learn how to read and understand complex musical works.
Bachelor's degrees in musical fields include advanced musical composition, classical music training, music literature and even physics of music. Unlike law or medicine, musicians do not need to pass rigid tests or acquire certificates and licenses to practice. They informally attend workshops, conferences and seminars to network and improve skills, and spend many hours practicing to fine tune their skills.