Music and 4-H: From a project to a career

A college education and career in music can be developed from youth participation in this 4-H project area.

There are many opportunities for youth to participate in 4-H. The project areas, workshops, seminars and events that youth participate in through 4-H allow them to learn and develop skills that can lead to a major in college and a career. There are also opportunities for adults to participate in 4-H as a caring 4-H adult volunteer. They have opportunities to teach youth different skills through many project areas and help guide them to a bright future.

Can music be a project area in 4-H? Yes it can! According to Michigan State University Extension, if there are caring adult volunteers who can teach music to youth and youth who are interested in learning how to play instruments or sing, 4-H has a place for music.

Can the music project area guide youth to a career? Yes, and it can start with the opportunities that are available in college. For example, at Michigan State University, the College of Music offers programs for students interested in music as a career. Students may pursue and earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, Jazz Studies, Music Education and Music Performance. Music Performance consists of Brass and Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice (Vocal Arts) and Woodwinds. There are also opportunities for students to pursue and earn Master’s and Doctoral degrees focusing on music. The College of Music offers a Performance Diploma as well.

Some careers in music are musicians and singers, songwriters, music directors and composers, music therapists, and music teachers at the middle school, high school and postsecondary level. Some careers in music do not require a college degree.

Youth who are participating in 4-H with an interest in music can gain experience in a variety of venues. They can perform in school recitals and plays (if the plays have spots available for playing instruments and singing). In addition, their musical skills can be used for community service. Through 4-H, youth can work with 4-H adult volunteers to coordinate recitals for the community, at nursing homes or daycare centers. Youth can also give back to the community by passing on their musical passion and skills by teaching other 4-H members or youth something related to music.

In 4-H, music contributes to youth development from the caring 4-H adult volunteer who has an interest and skill for teaching this project area to youth. 4-H participation in the music project area can benefit youth members and lead to a college major, a degree and a career in music. It can also give the caring 4-H adult volunteer the satisfaction that they were part of a 4-H member’s development that led to the musical career field.

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