How to make it in music with a music degree


It only takes a spot of talent and an ounce of self-belief to become a musician - but you'll need more than that if you want to make a living from your passion.

Many aspiring musos are left dreaming of that lucrative record label deal, the gig that will free them up to earn money doing what they love. Trouble is, there aren't that many deals to be had. It's a conundrum that singer-songwriter Kristy Gallacher sidestepped by starting up her own record label, Broken Player Records, in 2008. At the time, she'd just graduated with a music degree from Coventry University, and she's been touring and releasing records under her own steam ever since.

"For my final year dissertation I did a 40-minute album," says Kristy. "I used that as my first album and set up my own record label. I've been working from it ever since, touring and putting out music."

That album release came at the end of three years' study in Music Composition and Professional Practice - a course that Kristy saw as an ideal route into making music her full-time job.

"I was writing and performing on the Midlands acoustic music scene and wanted to continue to do that while I was studying, which choosing my degree at Coventry enabled me to do," says Kristy.

"The university has excellent facilities and offered a course that suited me perfectly – giving me a chance to work on my writing and enhance my compositions. I would never have had the opportunity to write for a string quartet, wind section or brass band otherwise!

"As well as all the facilities of the University, the city offers a great music scene with loads of nights for musicians to go to and play to new audiences. The city is very lucky to have a library of fantastic musicians and a really high quality of music – my fellow students were really talented musicians.

"The professional practice element of the course gave me some really practical business skills too and I learnt how to market myself, as well as getting a qualification behind me that will be important if I choose to teach or go onto further study. I had the opportunity to record my first album while I was at Coventry and I’ve since headlined sell-out shows and played at a number of local folk festivals as well as the prestigious Troubador, Earls Court."

As well as playing her own shows, Kristy has supported Ed Sheeran, Scott Matthews and I Am Kloot's John Bramwell. Watch this video to see Kristy describe how she got started in the music industry.


Find out more about music degrees and other courses for 2013 by visiting the Coventry University website.