Getting Started in Music
Start your new career in the Oklahoma music industry!
Welcome to Oklahoma’s music community, where there is a place for you! Home to some of the most renowned musical acts and venues in the world, there are more exciting opportunities in Oklahoma’s music industry than ever before. As the entertainment industry continues to flourish both globally and here in Oklahoma, the need for the continued development and expansion of our local music industry workforce and companies is critical. We invite you to explore our website’s resources to learn more about ways you can plug in to the industry and start your careers now!
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- FOR BEGINNERS
- PIVOTAL WORK: EARLY ACCESS FREE VIDEO SERIES
- MUSIC DIRECTORY
Below you’ll find some beginning tips to consider for those who have never worked in the music industry, but are looking to move forward. The great thing about the music industry is there are positions for nearly every skill set, either on stage, on the road, or in an office.
Opportunity Abounds for Every Occupation: It’s very common to associate music industry jobs with what is seen most on-stage: performers, musicians, celebrities, etc. However, so much of what goes into bringing music to the stage happens behind the scenes. Nearly every trade imaginable has a role that easily translates to a position that is part of the music industry. Such occupations and departments include music publisher, concert promoter, music supervisor, audio video engineer, music teacher, dj, production crew, musical therapist, film & video game composer, instrument repair & restoration specialist, and so much more. There’s a place for you in the music industry if you’re ready to jump into the action.
Don’t Forget About Promotion: Yes, there is the actual writing and recording of the music, but what happens after the project is wrapped? The album enters a completely different, but critical, phase of the creative process. If you’re a software or technical expert, this may be a place for you as there are so many skills needed in this realm to complete, distribute and promote an album. Mastering, editing, registering works, promoting and securing placements, are just a few other essential areas.
Learn Your Trade: If you know which area of the music industry interests you most, learn more about it. There are a number of organizations around the state that offer annual educational panels and workshops, some for free, and even more learning opportunities exist in the virtual realm from specialty music blogs, online tutorials, master class videos and more. Endless books abound on music education as well, which may be purchased in your physical or online retailer or procured from your local library systems.
Meet Other Music Professionals / Network: Across the country in all markets, the music industry remains a business where professionals working in the field are closely connected with one another. With this in mind, try to attend as many music events as you can in an effort to meet people, some of whom are those who will be hiring for the next shows and productions in your area. So many jobs are hired based on industry word of mouth and/or proven experience, so whether you’re just starting to meet people or you’re working in a music industry environment, build a good reputation.
Make Stuff: The easiest way to learn is by doing, and in some cases, create your own opportunities. If you want to record that EP or manage that artist, get out there and do it! No matter the scale or size of your project, a simple step forward is gained knowledge and experience.
Work on Other People’s Projects: Apply to participate as a studio intern for a local recording studio, promoter, venue, etc. Volunteer at local festivals. The more you can observe or participate in music projects (creation, promotion, collaboration, distribution), the more you build up your contacts/relationships and learn about the music industry.
Building Your Team: The more you connect with people and make or participate in projects, the more likely you are to start building your team. Collaborating with like-minded people will only help you as you move forward in your career working on your own projects or others.
The Oklahoma Film + Music Office invites audiences to virtually preview our 2021 Oklahoma Film and Music Conference with the release of the “Pivotal Work: Early Access Series”. Join some of the state’s leading industry professionals for this free video series, which features workshops and discussions designed to educate and inspire audiences seeking to learn more about career opportunities within Oklahoma’s film and music industries. The “Pivotal Work: Early Access Series” launched in December with subsequent monthly video releases through March 2021.
Oklahoma is known for a prolific musical heritage deeply rooted in the folk, country, and bluegrass genres, but that was just the beginning. Over time, our Americana roots blossomed into a diverse talent base that spans across every genre imaginable, and the state’s music education opportunities have paved the way for new voices to be heard. Oklahoma’s wide variety of universities, colleges, trade-schools and more offer classes and added education for those looking to learn more about film and/or music production. Below is a list of music educational opportunities in the state.
Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City Community College’s (OCCC) two-year Associate Degree program in music develops skills in important areas such as theory, performance and individual & group applied music. After completing your Associate Degree, you’ll be able to transfer to a four-year college or university and continue your education as a junior. At OCCC you’ll find modern facilities, which include a Kurzweil Electronic Piano Laboratory with individual MIDI stations, individual practice rooms, and a 250-seat theatre for recitals and ensemble performances. Most importantly, you’ll be taught by faculty who are truly dedicated to helping you achieve your scholastic goals. As a music student at OCCC, you’ll have a variety of opportunities to gain experience through performing. Groups participate in activities both on and off campus throughout the year. Currently, College sponsored performing groups include Chamber Singers, Symphonic Choir, Jazz Ensemble and Guitar Ensemble.
Tulsa Community College
Tulsa Community College’s Music program (Associate in Arts) is designed to create a solid musical foundation in our students enabling them to transfer into four-year colleges and universities to pursue a baccalaureate degree in music. The program is also an appropriate course of study for individuals preparing for one of the many careers in music that do not require a baccalaureate degree or for personal enrichment. Skill enhancement and depth are provided by course work in applied music performance ensembles, music theory, music literature, keyboard, computer music composition and private lessons. Students have the opportunity to broaden the scope of their classroom education by participation in performance groups, including the Concert Choir, Show Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra and chamber ensembles. The music degree program is supported by a substantial performing arts facility, which includes a music recording studio, practice rooms, a MIDI keyboard laboratory and choral & instrumental rehearsal halls. Most music programs are presented at the state-of-the-art VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education.
Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO)
Through a focused curriculum and real-world experience, the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) prepares students for careers in the music industry. Offering two fully accredited Bachelor of Applied Technology degrees and three Associate Degrees, the ACM@UCO campus occupies 25,000 square feet with almost 400 full-time students in downtown Oklahoma City’s thriving Bricktown Entertainment District. Additionally, students are mentored by faculty who have toured, recorded and performed with Grammy award-winning artists such The Flaming Lips, Pink, Reba McIntire, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Zhu and Miley Cyrus. The campus houses four professional recording studios, five large rehearsal spaces, fully-equipped classrooms and practice rooms, two technology labs and a 200- capacity concert venue.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
The Department of Fine Arts at Northwestern Oklahoma State University prepares students for a career as an educator and/or artist through quality instruction and individualized attention while enriching the campus and community. As the arts center of Northwestern Oklahoma, the department serves to unite and enlighten students and communities through the visual and performing arts. The program welcomes students who are interested in creating music, visual arts, and theatrical productions as a means of enriching their college experience. The department also offers major areas of study in Music and Speech & Theatre, as well as minors in the visual arts, theatre, music, and musical theatre. Music degrees include Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A) degree, which provides a thorough grounding in music while allowing students to also pursue coursework in a secondary subject area such as social work, psychology, business, or many other areas; Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree, which prepares students to be performers, studio teachers, church musicians, and for music-related industry or graduate school. This degree does not lead to public school teaching certification; and a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) degree in Vocal or Instrumental studies, which prepares future educators for a career as a PK-12 teacher in Oklahoma and throughout the country. Although a music education major may select either a vocal or an instrumental option, the music faculty encourages all students to have experience in both vocal and instrumental music, and strongly suggests achieving state certification in both areas to increase marketability after graduation.
Northeastern State University
The Northeastern State University Department of Music is a part of the College of Liberal Arts. Its mission is to provide undergraduate education leading to the Bachelor of Music Education degree (with options in Instrumental and Choral/Vocal music) and Bachelor of Arts degree (with options in Musical Arts, Music-Business, Performance and Jazz Studies & Commercial Music), and to provide coursework directed to the general student population. Through quality teaching, research and scholarly activities, service to local and professional communities, and high expectations, our dedicated faculty and staff provide a friendly learning environment where students are prepared to achieve socially responsible career and personal goals for success in a challenging global society. The Northeastern State University Department of Music offers many opportunities for music majors and non-majors alike.
Oklahoma City University – Wanda L. Bass School of Music
UNDERGRADUATE: The Bass School at Oklahoma City University offers two undergraduate tracks. The performance-intensive Bachelor of Music degree programs are designed to develop comprehensive musical skills and literacy. The Bachelor of Music is offered in instrumental performance, music theater, vocal performance, music education and composition. The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music is designed for the study of music within a broad-based liberal arts curriculum. The Bachelor of Arts is also the degree for students with an interest in studying music and Pre-Med or Pre-Law.
GRADUATE: The Master of Music degree program is a rigorous, selective course of study for exceptional musicians who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music and are committed to excelling in the field. The professional graduate programs integrate performance skills, music scholarship, pedagogy, and professionalism to prepare students for music careers in the 21st century. Students completing this degree may pursue a doctorate, seek and entry level position at a university, teach privately or seek a career as a performer. Graduates of the Bass School of Music leave campus with a discipline and versatility that positions them for successful professional lives. Musicians holding the M.M. from Oklahoma City University include performers Kristin Chenoweth, Sarah Coburn, Lara Teeter, and Roy Bean; Mark Blakeman, vice president and general manager of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra; and Midge Woolsey, radio host of WQXR, the radio station of The New York Times. Recent M.M. graduates in composition have been selected for continued study at schools ranging from London’s Royal College of Music to University of Southern California’s Thornton Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program.
Oklahoma State University – Department of Music
The Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music at Oklahoma State University (OSU) offers a four-year curriculum designed to develop not only students’ performance abilities, but also their practical and academic skills. The core undergraduate curriculum includes applied lessons, ensemble participation, music theory, music history, keyboard proficiency and the humanities, preparing students to become music educators, performing musicians, composers, theorists, musicologists and music industry professionals. The School of Music’s new home is a premier music education facility that harnesses the synergy of research, artistry and incomparable hands-on learning experiences available only at OSU. It houses a variety of music laboratories, classrooms, and teaching studios equipped with the latest technology for high-level studio production. Its design encourages collaboration with suites strategically created for specific areas of study and rehearsal spaces that will accommodate varying sizes of music groups. The new facility, plus the opportunities created by the McKnight Center for Performing Arts, positions OSU’s music program to continue to achieve national accolades and prominence.
Oklahoma State University – Music Industry
The Music Industry course track at Oklahoma State University is for students interested in the three music industry income streams: music production, music publishing and live entertainment. The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts has partnered with OSU to offer music industry students with real-world experience in state-of-the-art venues. You will explore courses in musicianship, music technology and music entrepreneurship, as well as classes related to general business. Students graduate from OSU prepared to be successful in a wide variety of musical careers that include performance, teaching, working in the music industry and beyond. OSU graduates have pursued successful careers in a variety of fields, including Music Producer, Songwriter, Sound Design, Recording Engineer and Video Game Composer.
Oral Roberts University
The Oral Roberts University Music Department offers studying in any aspect of music—from composition to performance or worship to music therapy—with a Christian education that focuses on development of the whole person. ORU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), is an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved university and is an All Steinway School—the first in Tulsa. As an All Steinway School, ORU is a member of a prestigious and select group of only 132 colleges and universities worldwide. Students will have many opportunities to perform through various instrumental and vocal ensembles as well as chapel and special worship services and will gain exposure to strong arts programs such as Tulsa Signature Symphony, Tulsa Ballet and Tulsa Opera as well as the opportunity to learn from visiting artists. The Music Department’s instrumental and vocal applied lesson instructors are accomplished performers and students will train with them in weekly one-on-one lessons. Degree tracks include Music Arts, Music Composition (including Film Scoring Concentration), Music Education, Music Performance, Music Production, Music Therapy and Worship Arts. Admission to the music program requires an audition with the music department. Students must first apply and be admitted to the university prior to auditioning.
Southern Nazarene University
Producing some of Oklahoma’s top Worship Leaders, Southern Nazarene University’s (SNU) Bachelor of Science in Music is a degree that includes a Major in Music with an emphasis in Commercial Music Production or Music Performance. A Music Performance Emphasis offers a choice of Concentration between Vocal, Instrumental, or Keyboard Performance. The School of Music offers you the opportunity to study with credentialed faculty as you journey toward graduation, another step closer to reaching your goals. These scholars with a Christian worldview will mentor and guide you along the way. SNU’s smaller size allows students to interact with faculty — not only in the classroom, but also through impactful mentoring, personal advising, and meaningful research.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
The Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s (SWOSU) Department of Music prepares students for vibrant careers as music educators, music therapists and arts administrators. The Department of Music offers six different undergraduate degree options, including Music Education (instrumental or choral), Music Performance (orchestral instrument, piano organ or voice), Music Therapy (instrumental or vocal & keyboard) and Music Business, as well as a minor in music; and offers Master of Music Degrees in Music Education, Performance, and Music Therapy. The Music Therapy Equivalency program also allows students without an undergraduate degree in music therapy to pursue certification and a MM degree simultaneously. Graduate teaching assistantships are available to graduate students. SWOSU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved university. All prospective music majors are encouraged to audition for scholarships.
University of Oklahoma – Price College of Business – Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business
Located near downtown Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma’s MBA program gives you the opportunity to fulfill your potential as a business leader through executive-level business education. Earning your MBA degree in 16 months with the Price College of Business is a solid investment in your future. Students can choose to customize their curriculum through graduate certificates.
University of Oklahoma – School of Music
Established in 1908, the University of Oklahoma (OU) School of Music has been helping students pursue their musical and academic dreams for more than a century. With 60+ full-time faculty members and 450 music majors, OU’s School of Music is the only comprehensive music program in Oklahoma. OU offers degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels in all areas of music performance, composition, education, history and theory. At the Bachelor level, there are two performance degrees: the Bachelor of Music (BM) and the Bachelor of Musical Arts (BMA); the Bachelor of Music Education (BME) degree in both instrumental and voice; the Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA), a liberal arts degree with an emphasis in music. For students who would like to continue to study music at the university level, but do not wish to pursue a degree in music, OU offers a Minor in Music that can complement any degree offered at the university. Graduate students can follow one of the following tracks: Master of Music, Master of Education, Doctor of Musical Arts or a PhD in Music Education.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s vibrant music program offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in music and emphasis options in music education, performance and business. Students opting for the emphasis in music education may select either vocal or instrumental music and choose a primary specialization from the areas of brass, percussion, piano, voice or woodwinds. Students selecting an emphasis in performance or business may choose a primary specialization from the areas of brass, composition, guitar, percussion, piano, voice or woodwinds. The Science & Arts music program enhances the arts scene in the area, enriching the lives of both the students and local residents through concerts, outreach, and collaborative events with other university departments and community partners. Career possibilities include Elementary or Secondary Music Educator, Band Director, Choir Director, Composer, Arranger, Studio Musician, Private Instructor, Church Musician and Music Business Manager/Owner.
Oklahoma Arts Institute – Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute
The Oklahoma Arts Institute hosts the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI), an intensive two-week residential school at Quartz Mountain State Park and Lodge that provides professional training to artistically talented OKLAHOMA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, including graduating seniors, in the visual, literary and performing arts. OSAI offers training in the disciplines of acting, chorus, creative writing, dance, drawing and painting, film and video, orchestra and photography. You’ll join over 250 students from across the state as you study your chosen field and attend or participate in performances, gallery openings, film screenings, poetry readings, and more. Auditions run in the winter.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Business Side of Music
The Business Side of Music is a weekly podcast focusing on all aspects of the music industry, including recording, copyrights, songwriting, cataloging, and so much more.
The DIY Musician Podcast features interviews with artists of all styles and backgrounds who’ve found a unique but authentic pathway to success, as well as in-depth discussions with music publicists, promoters, lawyers, publishers, talent buyers, and more.
Indie Connect’s “Top Ten Music Business Podcasts”
Top music industry podcasts for anyone who wants to get educated about various aspects of the music business. These podcasts were picked out of hundreds that exist on iTunes. Their official descriptions are given along with their websites. Whether you’re a professional musician or just getting started, these podcasts are a quick and easy way to immerse yourself in the business side of music.
Music Industry Blueprint
Hosted by Taylor Swift’s Former Manager Rick Barker, known for his straightforward and honest approach when it comes to the Music Business. This weekly podcast is designed to help keep you up to date with what is happening in the world of music and the latest trends when it comes to digital marketing.
Music Marketing Manifesto
Music Marketing Manifesto is a leading resource for today’s DIY musicians, hosted by John Oszajca, a Music Marketing Expert, a Former Major Label Recording Artist, and one of the pioneers of Direct To Fan Marketing in the Music Industry.
Okie Show Show
Hosts talk to other film and music industry pros ranging from gaffers to comedians to the next breakout indie rock band.
Songwriters & Tour Riders
Songwriters & Tour Riders is a music podcast from KOSU, focusing on musicians coming from Oklahoma and those just passing through. Join host Matthew Viriyapah as musicians tell stories of recording, touring and living as artists.
Folk Alliance International
Folk Alliance International (FAI) was founded in 1989 to connect folk music leaders aiming to sustain the community and genre. The leading international voice for folk music, FAI is an arts nonprofit and NEA designated National Arts Service Organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. FAI is the leading international voice for folk music with a network of more than 3,000 members: a worldwide community of artists, agents, managers, labels, publicists, arts administrators, venues, festivals, and concert series presenters.
Scene Skeleton is a free weekly video series featuring conversations with experienced panelists from across the nation discussing strategies, best practices and other music industry topics. Created by Chad Whitehead, talent buyer for Tower Theatre, Ponyboy and Patchwork Presents, this series is designed to support local musicians as they navigate the music industry by giving them access to people with decades of experience. Each episode will begin with a conversation before moving into an artist-submitted Q&A session. Topics include how to release an album, promoting a concert, managers/agents, branding and more. All of Season 1 is now available for streaming.
Sound Development by Sound Diplomacy
The first event of its kind to bring the world’s property developers and music industry together, Sound Development explores the issues and opportunities between music and real estate in the United Kingdom and around the world. There have been nine editions so far, welcoming 1000+ delegates from planners and architects, to artists and music industry professionals.
The Searchlight Sessions
The Searchlight Sessions are interviews with experienced entertainment professionals sharing important information about the music and media industry. These videos are designed to help entertainment professionals, especially those that are up-and-coming, to expand their knowledge and skills in multiple areas and hopefully be able to leverage this new information to increase their income and build their reputation. With COVID-19 impacting so many in the entertainment industry, the goal is to help musicians and filmmakers to see other ways to make money and think outside the box.
Presented by the Americana Music Association Foundation, Thriving Roots is a brand new event with almost 100 online sessions that go beyond today’s webinar-style virtual conferences. The webinar took place in 2020 with tickets still available for purchase through the fall of 2021.