Conservatoires play a fundamental role in the development and continuation of classical music around the world. But what do they do to prepare those students who may want to consider a career outside of the concert hall or as composers? We asked the Juilliard School in New York what they do for their students.

1. What percentage of your graduates secure steady employment within the music industry as performers?  

Juilliard were unable to provide answers for this question at the time.

2. How do you prepare your students for a self employed career in music?

Students receive direct guidance from the Office of Career Services, the Juilliard faculty, the Mentoring Program, and coursework designed to address the career needs of today’s performing artist. Career Services hosts over 25 programs per year on foundational career topics, as well as more advanced business, networking and entrepreneurial skills. The office also provides dozens of one-on-one career consultations per week and over 450 paid performance opportunities for students and alumni each year. Entrepreneurship is an important “cross-current” in all components of the Juilliard curriculum, so our office reinforces that through project advising, workshops and residencies, and grant programs.

3. What skills do you give your students that might help them if looking for a career outside the music industry?

Many presenters we bring to campus provide their unique perspective within the industry, and some also share information about their transitions into other fields including arts administration, education, law, finance, or even medicine. While our primary focus is providing students with essential skills for a sustainable and successful career in music, we are happy to lend guidance to those with diverse interests. There is particular crossover into other industries when we advise and guide students who are pursuing unique entrepreneurial ventures. 

4. To what extent do you advise your students about other roles within the arts sector, such as classical music PR, artist management, publishing, advertising or writing about the arts?

Because our students often act as their own agents after graduation, we do our best through programs, workshops and advising to equip them with essential business skills including concert booking, contracts, professional etiquette, PR, interactive performances and the other subjects listed above. Students are organically exposed to other non-performing artistic roles through their direct interaction with clients and concert presenters that we work with. We also maintain a number of subscription resources, as well as an online job bank accessible to all students and alumni that includes information about a variety of jobs in the arts. 

5. Teaching ability is almost inevitably an essential skill for self employed musicians – what emphasis is this given in their academic course?

Students naturally learn a great deal about teaching through the one-on-one interaction with their studio faculty member. It’s this intense mentoring relationship that has traditionally been the basis for passing pedagogical methods from one generation to the next. This process is supported institutionally through teaching and studio assistantships, Educational Outreach fellowships that provide teaching opportunities in area public schools, teaching and mentorship opportunities in our Pre-College and Music Advancement Program (MAP), and a partnership that offers Suzuki method training to students. In addition, Juilliard’s Career Services office maintains a Private Teacher Directory that helps students and alumni connect with private teaching opportunities. 


If you studied music at university or a conservatoire then we want to hear from you! Click here to answer our questionnaire about what music degrees do to prepare students for the professional world.

You can also see what the Sydney Conservatorium, the Oberlin Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Music had to say.