BlogCreative ArtsPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Music at UNSW

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Music at UNSW

So, you know what to expect from studying a Bachelor of Music at UNSW, but you want to get a personal perspective?

We’ve asked Rachel, a Bachelor of Music (Music Creative Practice) graduate at UNSW, to share some more insights into what the course is really like.

Let’s get started!

Why should you study a Music degree at UNSW?
Top 3 Pros of a Music Degree
Top 3 Cons of a Music Degree
Things to Know Before Starting UNSW Music
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying UNSW Music
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Bachelor of Music at UNSW?

If music is your passion, this degree will give you the opportunity to develop your skills in not only performance, but composition, sound production, music education and musicology! You’ll have a holistic understanding of the different areas of music.

Bachelor of Music UNSW - Quote

A Bachelor of Music at UNSW can also be studied as a double degree. From arts or secondary education to science or law, you can find out more about the different degree combinations UNSW offers here.

Top 3 Pros of a Music degree

#1: Making connections in the industry

Rachel says, “It’s definitely good networking to be amongst people who are musicians.”

Studying with other musicians can be a huge benefit when it comes to gaining experience, helping each other out, and making connections. Networking while you study can help you find opportunities to perform with other musicians, find a job in the industry, or even appear on albums!

#2: Well-rounded content

Studying Music at UNSW will see you gaining practical experience and developing your musical knowledge and skills across different areas. 

Rachel says, “[It’s] a more broad degree [where you get to] explore world music and … jazz and also Western music and then also theory, and then oral music. So you get a whole range, which I think is really good. Especially when you’re fresh out of high school … you kind of want to explore different genres.”

#3: Community environment

When it comes to the culture of Music at UNSW, Rachel says, “It’s such a good community vibe.”

Rachel says, “In the first couple years when everyone was doing the same subjects … everyone used to share notes and help each other out. I used to tutor people in music theory… [and] everyone helps each other out.”

The majority of core units are studied in first and second year, making it a perfect time to make some new friends!


Top 3 Cons of a Music degree

#1: Not instrument-specific

As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can expect to learn about a wide variety of genres, instruments, techniques, and styles of music. While this helps you develop a well-rounded understanding and knowledge of music, it also means that you won’t be spending as much time honing your instrument. 

UNSW Music encourages students to broaden their musical horizons rather than specialising in an instrument. But the degree does let you specialise in an area of your choice, with majors including:

    • Sonic Arts
    • Music Pedagogy
    • Music Inquiry
    • Music Creative Practice

“If you’re looking to really study your instrument specifically, [UNSW] probably isn’t the place [to do it], because again, it’s so broad,” Rachel explains. 

#2: Having lecturers that don’t play your instrument

Since Music students at UNSW aren’t separated into their specific instruments, it’s pretty likely that you’ll be taught by a lecturer or tutor that doesn’t play your instrument at some point during your studies.

“If you’re a jazz player and you have a lecturer who is a classical piano player, they just have no idea what they’re talking about,” Rachel says. 

I remember in my first year, they used to have random markers. So, you know a classical piano marker would be marking a jazz set, and it was just unfair because they had no idea what they were listening to because it’s just a whole different genre of music.”

#3: Tedious subjects

While getting to play and listen to different genres and instruments broadens your musical knowledge and experience, it can make it harder to participate when you feel out of your depth.

Performance lab classes can sometimes be a bit tedious,” Rachel explains, “because I just want to pass off commenting because I don’t know.”

Any regrets? What do you wish you had known before starting the Bachelor of Music at UNSW? 

Rachel says, “I don’t think so, because … I’ve always wanted to do music, probably since I was 10.

For me, personally, it was what I needed,” she says. “Now I’ve got my degree, I feel like I’m off and running.”

Since the degree is so broad, you might find some subjects more tedious than others and you should expect to work on all of your musical skills — think composing, performing, pedagogical skills and more — rather than just becoming an expert in your instrument.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

As we’ve mentioned before, the broadness of the degree makes UNSW stand out from the other universities. 

Rachel explains, “You meet more people because you can do a range of ensembles. You’re not just limited to what your instrument offers.”

UNSW also differs from other universities in its audition process. While live auditions are the standard for other universities, UNSW requires prospective students to submit recordings of themselves performing. This means that you can apply from anywhere and not have to worry about travelling to campus!

You can find out more about UNSW’s audition process here!

What inspired you to choose this degree?

Music is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Rachel says.

As for choosing UNSW, the online audition process, short commute, and the fact that her brother had studied there (and loved it) appealed to Rachel.

If convenience is what you’re looking for when enrolling into a music degree, UNSW makes the process simple.

What are the possible career paths?

Bachelor of Music UNSW - Careers

While working as a musician is the most obvious career option, graduating with a Bachelor of Music from UNSW lets you pursue a range of other careers, such as:

    • Composer
    • Music teacher or tutor
    • Broadcaster
    • Music arranger
    • Sound designer
    • Conductor
    • Audio engineer
    • Arts management
    • Music journalist

Rachel Fieldhouse is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and has just completed a double degree in Science and Arts at The University of Sydney, majoring in Chemistry, English, and Linguistics. Rachel’s writing has been published in Concrete Playground, Inside Enterprise, Planting Seeds, and SURG FM, and she currently writes blog posts for Remi AI, a Sydney-based Artificial Intelligence firm. When she’s not writing, you can find Rachel playing her saxophone or flute, or relaxing with some sudoku.


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