Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

What Can We Do with a Music Degree? — A Silicon Valley Trip Memoir

By Isis Alava

After arriving home from Silicon Valley, I realized something that I should have noticed a long time ago. I realized how versatile a music degree can be in just about any industry. When I was in high school, I remember most teachers telling us students to go into STEM degrees because music was too unstable. If they were to go to Silicon Valley with Berklee students, they would realize that they are wrong.

In an era where technology is constantly making us adapt to different environments, it is inevitable for the industry to change as well. The jobs that exist today did not exist about twenty years ago. For example, being a sound designer for Facebook is something that a Berklee alum can now pursue, but only about fourteen years ago that position did not exist. The same thing goes for a sound designer at Playstation. When one thinks of this company, they usually assume that all Playstation requires are graphic design techs or computer programmers. Unfortunately, we easily forget that there is actually a musician at Playstation working on music and sounds for the games. We forget how vital musicians are to user experiences in the gaming realm. Imagine playing a video game for two hours in complete silence. This alone proves how essential music is to user’s sense of enjoyment when consuming media in any form.

The greatest take away from this trip for me was understanding that it is ok to be unsure of what you will do once you graduate. I realized this with the Berklee alumni who are now building their own paths to success. Tim Chang at Mayfield Ventures was an investor, but still followed his passion for music by maintaining his band. People like Mike Cassidy focused on ways to keep people more connected through Internet access, while still playing their instruments. In a way, music is a way to keep these busy and successful people creative by still using their creative side to communicate with an audience through music. The sound designer from Facebook was originally a composition major at Berklee and is now in his dream job. Even he stated that he would have never imagined that he’d be where he is today. It proves that a Berklee education can truly take you anywhere.


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1 Comment

  1. I always thought that music made a good minor, while a more specific major could give their degree and resume more teeth.

    Like if someone wanted to work at the Playstation division for Sony, a degree in audio engineering or audio video technologies would go a long way. The added music minor would almost be a bonus, and would give some legitimacy to the person’s creativity and interest in working in an audio-related field.

    My father-in-law got a degree in music quite a few decades ago, and ended up just going into sales. But I agree that if he had gotten the same degree today, he’d have more options that would line up with what he had studied.

    Anyways, I appreciate the perspective.

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