Music Students Look to the Future

Berkeley Connect Music student discuss undergraduate research and future plans 


On October 30, Berkeley Connect Music students and their graduate student mentor, Nell Cloutier, explored career paths and undergraduate research in their small-group discussion. When asked what they hoped to do after they graduated, the answers were diverse – from becoming a music teacher to working as a chef. Students also chimed in on the kinds of research topics they are interested in pursuing – and they’re definitely cool.

“I’m just going to print out 500 copies of my resume and send it everywhere,” one student joked when Nell asked them about their future. Another student spoke of her dream of eventually working as a music teacher in her home country. A few other students were interested in going into data analysis and investment.

For those not planning to pursue a career in music, Nell asked how they hoped to work music into their post-graduate life. One student mentioned that he really enjoyed composition and would probably continue to compose music for friends and parties. Others said they would listen to music in their everyday life.

Nell gave the students an overview of some research programs to which they can apply, and asked if any of them are interested in conducting research while they are undergraduates. Some students admitted it was not for them. “I’d rather practice for performances than write and read,” one student said. But others were interested. One student shared that he would like to examine the way location influenced music, including the type of wood available, climate, and the structure of society. Another said that if she was to do a capstone research project, she would research children and the way they learned music from peers. She recounted a personal experience of teaching young children piano and the way she saw them teaching each other. “Children have their own language, and they would find different ways to learn what I taught,” she said.  Nell challenged the students to discuss how they would research these topics, and gave them some advice on how to find programs that could fit their research interests.

One thing was clear – while the students had a wide variety of career goals and academic interests, they had in common a deep passion for music!

posted by Katherine Wang
Berkeley Connect Communications Assistant