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Learning the Music Business: Evaluating the ‘vocational turn’ in music industry education

01 Apr 2015

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This UK Music commissioned research paper from King’s University looks at the issue of the relevance and appropriateness of undergraduate music business education in preparing graduates for professional life.

This report responds to the ‘vocational turn’ in music education at British universities. This term groups together a number of recent developments, including: the rising ‘employability’ agenda in Higher Education; the growing importance of internships and work placements as part of degree courses; and the increasing interaction between universities and businesses, through knowledge exchange, teaching, and training. In music, the vocational turn is most visible in the raft of undergraduate courses that have appeared since the turn of the millennium specifically aimed at preparing students for work in the music industry.
Policy-makers look to ensure universities offer value to their students and that creative industries receive the training support they need. On the other hand, educators are often concerned that vocationalism risks undermining the quality and standards of an academic degree. Debates continue. With the recent launch of the Music Academic Partnership, UK Music is seeking to address both of these concerns.


Toby Bennett, King’s College, London.  Publ. Apr 2015