Careers in Music

ssu student performing on mbira during the world music ensemble performance Music and dance have the power to bring people together. They allow us to celebrate together and to grieve together. Music and dance help us to understand that we are not alone in this world, that others share our joys and our pain. The art that you practice has the power to change a life, to lift a spirit, to mend a broken soul, and you will never lose the intangible and indefinable qualities instilled in you from your experience in the arts.  In the music and dance programs at Salem State University you will engage in a variety of scholarly, performance, and artistic activities in the academic pursuit of music or dance.

 You will develop your expressive abilities, and learn how to be an effective communicator and critical thinker through writing, reading, researching, performing, and presenting. You will know how to plan ahead, take responsibility, work collaboratively, manage your time, and analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. A degree in music or dance gives you transferrable skills that are useful in any career.

Either by themselves, or merged with another discipline, the fields of music and dance present many wonderful career possibilities. Jobs are plentiful for those whose interests lie in the area of either public or private education, but there are a wide variety of paths that incorporate the arts that are unrelated to teaching, including arts writing, scholarship, performance, composing, choreography, arts therapy, music software and hardware design, sound recording and technology, sound design for gaming, arts management, and arts writing and scholarship. An undergraduate degree in music or dance also provides a good background for graduate studies, including medical and law school.

Who better to tell you about this than our alumni?

"The music department helped me to transform from a guitar player in a rock band struggling to read sheet music to a well-rounded musician. I found opportunities not only to play guitar and sing, but also to learn percussion, trombone, clarinet, and tabla. I took music education and conducting courses, which helped to prepare me for my future as a music educator. As a master’s degree student at The Boston Conservatory (’12) with a major in music education, I found that between my educational studies minor and the music education electives I took at Salem State, I was well prepared for an advanced degree in music education." TJ Gansenberg ’11

"I came to Salem State because I wanted to be treated like an individual, not a number.  I wanted to ask questions, have one-on-one discussions with my professors, to be actively involved in my education in a way that's just not possible if you're sitting in a lecture hall with 500 other undergraduates, listening to a teacher's assistant lecture into a microphone. I wanted that intimate, personalized college approach, which is why I fell in love with Salem State and its music department from the first day I set foot in Dr. Peter Kvetko's Introduction to World Music.  As I learned more about the music program and its supportive, knowledgeable professors, I was further reassured that I was in the right place. I immersed myself in the vibrant arts scene the university has to offer, and thrived as both an artist and a human being. Salem State has challenged me intellectually. It has nourished my creative soul, and I have made connections there that I know will last a lifetime. For that, and much more, I am forever grateful."  Molly Pinto Madigan ‘13

"The Salem State University music department has completely changed my life, and more importantly the way I think about music. The many hours spent in the music classes, practice rooms and ensemble spaces are so valuable to me as a person and as a musician. The faculty is amazing, and if I had only one word of advice to the new student, it would be to listen to every word or story they share and do your absolute best to follow their advice and guidance. Whether it’s stories about when they were a student and some of the things they did to succeed, or the way they speak about their own lives as professional musicians, listen. That's what I did and it made all the difference as I prepare for my next steps." Alex Lauria ‘15

"Through working with several faculty members, I experienced the power that music had and the effects it can have on people’s moods. I then made the choice that I wanted to help people using music and started looking into music therapy. With the help of the department I prepared for post-graduate life and I am now headed to graduate school at Lesley University to start my future career!" Anna Kartstein ‘15

"The dance department provided me with the freedom and guidance needed to express myself choreographically as well as intellectually. After graduating I moved to New York City to be closer to the performing arts scene where I continue to take class regularly while serving as the marketing manager for the performing arts theater New York Live Arts, home of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company." Katie Jennings '12

"The dance program at Salem State was where I began expanding my dance vocabulary. I was strictly a hip-hop trained student and I was able to open my mind to the possibilities of learning different dance styles. Of course, as anyone would be, I was very ambivalent about stepping out of my comfort zone, but I did. Thanks to the wonderful professors, classmates, and courses, I was able to become a well-rounded dancer. I now teach at Beverly Richards Dance Center and have been dancing professionally with IMPACT Dance Company." Emmanuel Encarnacion ‘13

"The dance program at Salem State University became the gateway to finding myself as an artist. Through the high quality training and guidance of caring professors, I was provided the technical and creative skills needed to pursue a career as a performing artist, dance educator, and choreographer. My experience at Salem State has proven invaluable and I am grateful for the knowledge, support, and encouragement that I have received." Maria LaRossa ’06

"I began my journey at Salem State as a transfer student. As a new student in fall 2013 I was nervous but the dance community made me feel as if I'd been there for years. Through my experience as a dance student at SSU I have gained so much more than a degree. From the outstanding faculty and their everlasting guidance to the unbreakable friendships or memories made in classes and rehearsals, I am fortunate to have been a dance student at Salem State.”  Shannon Collins ’15

"The dance program offered at Salem State University has provided me with the knowledge and skill to perform and create as an artist. The faculty of the dance program create a nurturing and open environment to allow for students to grow as artists and excel in what they are most passionate about: dance. I was able to take risks that I did not imagine were possible because of the Salem State dance program. The faculty expose the students to the many different cultures of dance that allow the student to become a well educated artist, giving the student the tools she needs to become a well-rounded dancer. The dance program offers students many opportunities to study and pursue dance outside of Salem State. As a Salem State alumna and a 2013 Creativity Award winner, I have continued to pursue my passion of dance. I have been able to perform with Ormao Dance Company in Colorado as a guest performer in multiple shows. Thanks to the Salem State University dance program, I am always able to grow and learn as a performing artist and choreographer."  Alicia Knight ‘13