Music Production Schools and Programs

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Music production specialists work behind the scenes and behind the music, as recording engineers and live sound technicians, in studio production, sound mixing and other capacities. There are many facets to a career in music production and numerous paths to attaining success, from sound engineering to audio technology and beyond. This step-by-step guide examines different educational programs and offers useful advice from a professional in the field.

Check, One, Two. . . The World of Music Production

Music is everywhere — in films and television, on the radio and the Internet, and, of course, in clubs, theaters and concert halls. This isn’t even counting the “muzak” in elevators and dentists’ offices. Much of that music might never be heard if not for a special class of creatively minded, technically skilled professionals. Music production specialists in different disciplines capture, compose, amplify and ultimately shape the soundtrack of our world.

The term “music production” encompasses a remarkably wide range of activities: from installing and maintaining sophisticated audio components and systems to working behind digital mixing consoles in recording studios or concert venues. Specialties include touring with bands, symphony orchestras and theater productions, not to mention facilitating live and recorded audio portions of television, radio and Internet broadcasts. Job descriptions also include designing and overseeing sound systems for schools, hotels, office buildings, community facilities and an array of other settings.

A March 19, 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal detailed changes in the music industry. The oft-overlooked army of sound engineers, once called “roadies,” are now regarded as skilled “concert technicians.” This group of professionals also shows increasing diversity in the workforce makeup. The article notes the growing clout of technical positions such as DJs and sound mixers at shows, festivals and other live venues.

Check, Three, Four. . . Music Production Schools and Degree Programs

The rapid rate of technological advances has only heightened the need for professionals who are trained in the elements of audio science, up-to-date on the latest digital hardware and software developments, and capable of a finely tuned aesthetic sensibility. Targeted programs from music production schools offer ways to learn the tools of the trade and art of the craft. There are many to choose from, including programs for certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees, or for those looking to move into the top echelons of the field, master’s degrees.

Options for music production studies include community colleges, technical and vocational schools, four-year universities, and more specialized art institutes and music schools. There are also an increasing number of online opportunities. The curriculum depends on the school and specialization, but generally focuses on three basic areas: the science and technology of audio recording, the aesthetic elements of sound engineering and the business side of the field.

Vocational Schools

Because even entry-level jobs in music production require a fair amount of technical expertise and familiarity with the equipment used by audio and concert engineers, vocational schools offer certificate programs designed to prepare students to begin work in the field. Studies may take one year to complete. Often falling under the general heading of sound engineering technician certificates, these programs go into the basics of setting up, breaking down and operating the sound equipment used at live events held in clubs, theaters and sporting arenas, as well as on festival and fair grounds. Students also learn how to work in studio and broadcast production settings, and familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of mixing sound at an audio console.

Art Schools

Quite a bit of technology is involved in music production– the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that presents the Grammys, is called that for a reason. Many art institutes and academies offer degree programs in the recording arts, tailored for students interested in pursuing a course of study in music production and/or sound design. These can include two-year associate and four-year bachelor’s degree programs, which are generally open to those with high school diplomas, or the equivalent. Some art institutes also have master’s degree programs.

Like most music production schools, art institutes and academies tend to focus on both the technical and creative sides of this industry. A degree in music production could include a focus on composition, harmony and orchestration, as well as techniques for mixing and editing audio in areas like film, television and even video games.

Community Colleges

Many community colleges have one-year certificate options for students who are looking to test the waters in the field of music production. However, community college programs are generally centered on two-year degrees such as Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences. This is one path for students who don’t want to commit to a bachelor’s degree, but would like to keep that option open by fulfilling the necessary general education coursework required to transfer into such a program. A community college associate degree program can give students a firm foundation in audio mixing and engineering for both studio and live sound settings, while introducing the many applications of these techniques in broadcast and online media.

Four-Year Colleges

In addition to bachelor’s degree programs in music production from art and music schools, many traditional colleges and universities, both large and small, have similar offerings. One of the primary differences tends to be what’s available in terms of coursework and activities outside of the core area of study. Four-year colleges have general education requirements in addition to courses in music, sound engineering and audio sciences. On the other hand, these colleges also give music production majors the opportunity for a minor or a concentration in a subject that might be beneficial, such as business, psychology or musicology.

Music Production Schools

Music schools and conservatories that include a course of study in music production — and most do — have choices such as certificate programs as well as associate and bachelor’s degrees. Certificates may have a tiered system with options such as general, specialist or master. The major difference is setting and focus: at a music school or conservatory, students approach music in a variety of ways, as studio musicians, composers and music business majors. This can be a more immersive environment for those who are already quite certain that music is their only calling.

In addition, some music schools offer more choices for specializations in the area of music production, although arts academies and institutes, as well as colleges and universities, are beginning to do the same. Many music schools also award master’s degrees in music production or more specialized areas of sound engineering for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree.

Best Music Production Schools and Programs: 2017

Music students have a number of options to consider when choosing a program. Whether their interests lie in composing, conducting or performance, they must choose a school that not only offers training toward their preferred career paths, but that will help them develop within the genre they specialize in, be it classical, soundtrack or electronic music. Taking into consideration factors like the number of programs, cost, and student-teacher-ratio, we’ve identified the top online and on-campus music programs in the country to help students begin narrowing down their choices. The following schools rose to the top of the pack as the best in music production programs for 2017. Find the list and begin your search below.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Mesa Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.77
Read more

By completing one of Mesa Community College’s music business or disc jockey techniques programs—either an associate of applied science or a certificate of completion—students will be one step closer to accomplishing their goal of becoming a knowledgeable employee in the music industry. These programs are completed through a variety of classes that range from live and studio audio recording to small business operation. Like many of the Mesa CC programs, these degree paths are flexible in their scheduling, guaranteeing that students will not need to disrupt their schedules to gain an education.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Del Mar College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.65
Read more

With the completion of an associate of applied science in sound recording technology at Del Mar College, students will be prepared for employment as soon as they graduate. Students will progress through a thorough curriculum outlining in-studio and live sound mixing principles, proper operation of sound mixing equipment, and the science behind how sound travels and interacts with the human ear. Del Mar College provides its students with academic advising opportunities to help set them on the shortest path to earning their degree. Certain Del Mar College courses may also be completed in a virtual format, if the student finds they are unable to attend the Del Mar campus.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Kansas City Kansas Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.68
Read more

Completing an associate of applied science degree in audio engineering at Kansas City Kansas Community College will either lead students into an entry-level job, or it may also prepare students to transfer into a 4-year school to complete a bachelor’s degree in a corresponding field. While learning in this program, students will be able to get hands-on experience operating state-of-the-art recording and mixing equipment that will be play a large role in their future careers. KCKCC provides a large number of its students with financial aid, helping to reduce the stresses that accompany attending an institution of higher education.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Santa Fe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.58
Read more

Santa Fe Community College offers a certificate in media arts with a specialization in audio production that would be an excellent choice for any student who wishes to pursue a career as an audio engineer. Students will receive a comprehensive education that details all necessary skills to advance into the professional audio field, be it live audio, studio recording, or film audio production. While the SFCC campus offers several student services, student housing complexes, and dining facilities, there are also a number of learning opportunities that may be completed off-campus. Online learning at SFCC is an excellent way for students to earn their degree in a schedule-friendly manner.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Western Iowa Tech Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.43
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Lee College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.09
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Paradise Valley Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
35%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.60
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8 Scottsdale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Guilford Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.43
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Glendale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Angelina College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.07
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Prairie State College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Spokane Falls Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
14 Salt Lake Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
6%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Aims Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Houston Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17 McLennan Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18 Southwestern Illinois College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.56
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
19 Fresno City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20 South Plains College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.10
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
21 Long Beach City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.90
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
22 Amarillo College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23 Chaffey College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.55
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
24 Springfield Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25 Foothill College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
6%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.71
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
26 Schoolcraft College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Lehigh Carbon Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.45
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
28 Citrus College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
29 Northwest Vista College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.18
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
30 American River College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.87
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
31 San Diego City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
32 Los Medanos College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
33 Sacramento City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.47
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Montgomery County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.47
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35 Hennepin Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Norco College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.32
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Los Angeles Valley College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38 Cedar Valley College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
39 Luzerne County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.69
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Finger Lakes Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.57
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41 Southwestern College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
42 Mt San Jacinto Community College District Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 88.90
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Community College of Philadelphia Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 88.81
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44 MiraCosta College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 88.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 88.15
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46 Ridgewater College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 87.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
47 CUNY LaGuardia Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 86.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Houghton College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 98.47
Read more

By earning a bachelor of science degree in music industry at Houghton College, not only will students develop a wide knowledge base of music industry principles, but they will also make numerous connections with individuals currently working in the music industry field that may be helpful contacts for later job placement. This program takes a hands-on approach, incorporating applied learning techniques that ensure students will have had several semesters of training before applying for positions after graduation. Students studying at Houghton College may make use of any student services that they feel may be beneficial to their college experience, including tutoring and academic advising.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
91%
Ranking SCORE 98.47
Read more

Because starting a career in the music industry is not only about knowledge and skill, but also about making strong connections with experienced individuals, it is highly beneficial for students interested in this field to pursue a bachelor of science degree in sound engineering at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. In addition to this program, UMICH offers nearly 260 other degrees and certificates for students to pursue, giving undecided learners a large variety of options to explore. Students can get further involved with their academic community by participating in student government, joining student organizations, and participating in campus events.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
3 Converse College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 98.14
Read more

Beginning a career in the music industry is an achievable goal when completing the music business and technology certificate offered at Converse College. In addition to learning how to properly operate equipment commonly found in a recording studio, students pursuing this certificate will also learn to produce their own concerts, ensembles, and work at the campus radio station. Students attending Converse College will be able to stay fit and active by participating in one of the numerous intramural and club sports teams offered. A wide variety of student-operated clubs and organizations are also hosted every semester at Converse, allowing students to better familiarize themselves with their peers.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
4 Nazareth College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
73%
Ranking SCORE 97.91
Read more

Nazareth College offers a bachelor’s degree in music business that can leads students into careers as audio engineers, concert promoters, or artist managers. Because Nazareth College looks to make this program as hands-on as possible, it incorporates several hours of applied audio mixing (both live and in-studio), private music lessons, and a number of internship opportunities. Several Nazareth programs also allow students to incorporate online courses to their degree program, helping to open up their schedule to other external obligations. If a student is worried about paying for their courses and text material, they may be able to receive financial aid coverage.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
5 Malone University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 97.05
Read more

By majoring in music with an emphasis in music production at Malone University, students will learn the complex ins and outs of the music industry. In addition to artist management and business operation courses, students will also gain experience in learning the proper functions of audio engineering equipment, whether it be live or in-studio. Students who are interested in finishing their Malone degree at a quicker rate may take a heavier course load while also incorporating winter and summer classes. If a student needs more flexibility in their schedule, evening or weekend classes may also be a useful opportunity.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Carson-Newman University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 96.76
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7 Ohio Northern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 96.48
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Union University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
88%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 96.34
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Samford University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 96.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Elmhurst College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
74%
Ranking SCORE 96.24
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Baldwin Wallace University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 95.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Michigan Technological University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 95.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Judson University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 95.65
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
14 Bradley University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
78%
Ranking SCORE 95.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15 SUNY at Fredonia Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
64%
Ranking SCORE 95.42
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16 Westminster College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 95.39
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Ouachita Baptist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.18
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
18 Cedarville University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
72%
Ranking SCORE 95.12
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19 Hope College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
77%
Ranking SCORE 95.11
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20 Ohio State University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 95.03
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
21 Greenville College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 94.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Belmont University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 94.87
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
23 Hardin-Simmons University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 94.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
24 University of Oregon Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
56%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 94.81
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25 Wheaton College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
69%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
90%
Ranking SCORE 94.62
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
26 SUNY College at Potsdam Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 94.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
27 Kuyper College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
92%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 94.57
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Palm Beach Atlantic University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 94.55
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29 University of Tulsa Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 94.55
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
30 Michigan State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
79%
Ranking SCORE 94.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31 Northwest University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 94.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32 Madonna University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
82%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 94.23
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Oklahoma Baptist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 94.23
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
34 Heidelberg University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 94.22
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
35 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 94.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Nyack College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 94.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Belhaven University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 94.08
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
38 CUNY Brooklyn College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 94.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39 University of Washington-Seattle Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
34%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
81%
Ranking SCORE 93.99
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
40 Birmingham Southern College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 93.97
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
41 Indiana University-Bloomington Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
75%
Ranking SCORE 93.80
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42 Arizona State University-Tempe Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 93.80
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
43 University of Missouri-Kansas City Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
44%
Ranking SCORE 93.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44 University of Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 93.65
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45 Marylhurst University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
38%
Ranking SCORE 93.64
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46 University of Rhode Island Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
83%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 93.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Music Production Quick Facts

The job market for broadcast and sound engineering technicians should grow by 9% in the 2012-2022 time frame.
Growth comes from updates to audio and video infrastructure and capabilities for clients ranging from corporations to radio and TV stations.
Academic institutions are upgrading equipment with features such as interactive whiteboards and video equipment for multimedia presentations.
The Wall Street Journal describes strong job opportunities for music production techs in live music venues, more so than in the traditional recording industry.

Must Have List for Music Production Schools

When choosing a music production program, important considerations include institutional quality standards, fieldwork opportunities and access to the actual gear used in this industry.

Curriculum

Music production is an applied skill. While a background in music theory, the aesthetics of sounds and other more theoretically based disciplines can be helpful, it’s critical to be familiar with the tools of the trade—for example, the hardware and software commonly found in studios, live venues or broadcast media.

Accreditation

No central organization accredits music production programs. Schools should be accredited on an institutional level by regional or national organizations that are recognized by agencies such as the Department of Education.

Faculty

Look for knowledgeable faculty with academic credentials and a teaching background as well as experience applying the science of music production outside of academia.

Internships/Work Study

Having a certificate or a degree has become more essential, but there’s no substitute for practicing the art and science of music production in a real-world setting. Internships and fieldwork are also a good way of figuring out what area or specialization best suits your interests and skill set.

Recording Studios

The craft of music production is grounded in an understanding of how music is recorded, mixed and mastered for final approval. Ask schools about their facilities to make sure you will be intimately acquainted with the nuts and bolts of the recording studio by the time you graduate.

Digital and MIDI Assets

Students need instruction and hands-on time with the hardware and programming software that underlies sound engineering in computer-based recording, specifically Pro Tools and Logic, as well as Avid audio interfaces. Also important is MIDI, or musical instrument digital interface, which is the industry standard for connecting analog instruments to digital recording equipment. Because music is converging with video, it does not hurt to look for training in Final Cut Pro software for video editing, production and rendering.

Microphones

It may seem too obvious to mention, but music production, engineering and recording begin with microphones. A suite of high-end, multifunctional mikes is often a standard by which professional studios are judged. It’s also a major consideration in choosing a music production school, particularly for vocational programs and community colleges.

The science of audio recording was developed in research universities, laboratories, and technology and communications companies. This knowledge was refined, often by trial and error, by the producers and engineers who put the new technologies to work. Real experience is still a major component in learning about music production. It’s true that digital software enables recording and mixing in a virtual space–but actual musicians and instruments, with the knobs and wires that go along with them, are very much a part of music production on a day-to-day basis.

Check, Five, Six. . . Music Production Degrees and Certificates

So, what exactly is required to earn a degree or a certificate in music production? This can and does differ somewhat from program to program. But here’s a baseline of what to expect at the various levels of study in music production, from one-year certificates up through full bachelor’s degrees and the master’s degree programs that can follow.

Music Production Certificates

A music production certificate is not subject to any academic standards and is essentially a proof-of-study stamp of approval from an institution. Certificates can be used as stepping stones in building a professional resume and as a means of staying current in the field through continuing education. Certificates come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. For example, a general certificate from a community college or vocational school will likely indicate that the holder has spent a certain number of hours in the classroom and in the studio learning the basics of music production.

Music schools and art institutes often offer an array of certificates in specialty areas, which might include a specific platform like Pro Tools or Logic Pro, or a particular professional capacity like live sound or film/video audio engineering. Specializations could range from recording orchestras to guitars to electronic music production. Examples of courses in certificate programs are shown below.

Music Production Analysis

An overview of the elements of a successful audio recording, including how recording sessions are engineered and overseen by the music production professional.

Pro Tools

An introduction to the Pro Tools digital recording and mixing platform and some of its uses and functionalities.

Live Sound

How to set up, mix and break down the equipment necessary in various venues. Examination of the challenges those venues might pose.

Music Production Associate Degrees

A typical associate degree in music production–usually Associate in Science– entails between 45 and 60 credit hours of coursework, which many students can complete in about two years. The associate degree is considered the baseline qualification for many jobs in music production, such as working in radio, television or in an institutional setting where a full-time audio specialist is needed.

Certain programs may have different choices for concentrations, but most associate degree programs are aimed at giving students a broad introduction to the various environments and capacities in which audio engineers and music production specialists work. While there can be elective courses open to students who have particular interests, the main goal is to impart the knowledge and skills necessary in any number of areas of music production.

Digital Audio Workstations

The software and techniques used to record, edit, process and mix the elements of a complete audio recording.

Audiotronics

How to properly set up, employ and maintain industry-standard digital recording hardware and software. Work with electronics could include wiring, soldering and manually testing audio equipment.

Postproduction

Recording and overdubbing dialogue, effects and other sonic embellishments on a final mix of an audio project.

Music Production Bachelor’s Degrees

While some colleges and universities do offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in this field, Bachelor of Science degrees are far more common. BS degrees are intended to take four years of full-time studies, with at least 120 credit hours of coursework. Music production is the major, or primary focus, in a course of study that also includes general education requirements in areas such as the humanities, behavioral sciences and physical sciences. A baccalaureate program also offers students the opportunity to select a minor, or create a secondary focus in a discipline that might be helpful in professional life. However, the core coursework is in the area of music production and engineering, as well as music history and other related disciplines.

MIDI Systems

Using Musical Instrument Digital Interface technology in conjunction with Pro Tools and Logic recording software to create and mix audio tracks.

Multi-track Recording Techniques

Optimal practices for setting up live recording sessions, incorporating overdubbing and signal processing hardware, as well as microphone placement.

Business of Music Production

Setting up a private recording studio, marketing skills, branding and other considerations from the commercial side of the business.

Music Production Graduate Degrees

Master of Science degrees related to music production usually take the form of upper-level music technology credentials, and there are also Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs available in sound design and engineering. These programs can require two years of additional study beyond the bachelor’s degree, a good deal of which is dedicated toward projects such as a master’s thesis. An MS or MFA degree in music technology and/or sound design may be a prerequisite for academic work in the field or advanced professional roles, although it’s not usually necessary to work in the realm of music production.

Digital Audio Processing

In-depth study of the science of digital sound recording and processing.

Signal Theory

Review of the mathematics of signal processing and algorithmic analysis of audio in musical applications.

Music and Video

Advanced uses of music in video production and in video game technologies.

No doctoral degree programs are dedicated to music production per se, but PhDs are available in areas related to music technology. These programs are rare, and they tend to focus on the most advanced theories and practices of signal processing in digital media, film scoring and multimedia production as well as interactive audio system technologies.

Music Production Toolbox/Checklist

Diverse career paths in music production can accommodate more than one personality type and skill set, but there are some basic strengths and foundational knowledge students should aim to cultivate.

  • Computer literacy:

    Music production is an almost fully digital field, particularly when it comes to audio files, recording, playback or almost any other phase of the game. Students should aim, at the very least, to be well versed in Pro Tools and Logic Pro, as well as comfortable navigating the online domain in general.

  • Communication Skills:

    Working in music production can involve describing the impact and effects of various sound techniques, or interpreting the artistic vision of a client. Oral, written and visual communication skills are important elements in the professional’s toolbox.

  • Audio Engineering:

    Sophisticated audio equipment ranges from recording and playback devices to PA systems. Students need a body of technical knowledge that allows them to work confidently and competently whether they are installing, maintaining or operating such equipment.

  • Telecommunications:

    Digital media convergence has brought all areas of communication closer together. Music production has always played a big role in radio and television, and is expanding its presence in online media. Graduates should be at home in these environments and have a working knowledge of how these media operate on a fundamental level.

  • Business Acumen:

    Many music production professionals opt to work in an entrepreneurial context, either full time or in addition to a day job. These specialists understand not just the inner workings of the entertainment, music and sports businesses, but also the necessary skills to run a business, whether that be a home recording studio or a live song engineering operation.

  • Video Software:

    Increasingly, audio and video production happens in the same place, the software for these separate functions is designed to work in tandem and audio projects have a video component. It can be absolutely necessary to know the ins and outs of the video production process, and have some capability working with video creation and editing software assets like Final Cut Pro.

  • Internships:

    The Must-Have list above already stressed the vital role these opportunities play– but it’s worth repeating. A music production school should offer the chance to work as an intern, learning the art and craft of audio engineering in the field.

  • Certifications:

    There are no licensure requirements in the field of music production and sound engineering. However, professional organizations offer various forms of certification–for example, the Society of Broadcast Engineers and InfoComm International have credentials for broadcast and sound engineering technicians. Faculty at music production schools may advise graduates on certifications that could be helpful in their area of interest.

Music production specialists may work on a team tasked with installing and running the sound equipment at a festival concert or handling the maintenance and day-to-day operations of a public address (PA) system in a sports arena. Or, the audio specialist may work largely alone, performing the involved technical task of mixing multi-tracked digital audio files for clients, some of whom might have volatile artistic temperaments. A solid training in fundamentals can serve in these jobs and others.

Music Production and Sound Design Specializations

Specialization is often a part of moving forward in music production careers. That might mean working in a particular area of sound engineering, like multi-track mixing or live studio recording. Or, it can entail going into a particular sector of the field, like the concert business, sports broadcasting or video production. Here are some other areas of emphasis:

Video Game Production

Working in the video game industry is probably a childhood dream for many people, and there are many different sound and music-related careers one can pursue. Audio workers, such as sound engineers, develop, record and process every sound within the game – music, dialogue and all the small unique sound effects that bring the game to life.

Electronic Music Production

While much music is still created the old fashioned way — by real live people playing instruments and singing — digital technology has evolved to a point where entire tracks can be conceived, created, mixed and mastered in a virtual workspace. This technology, and its many applications, are gaining interest as an area of specialization.

Audio Mastering

The final step in music production is called mastering, and it has been seen as a mysterious hidden realm. It involves a comprehensive knowledge of sound mixing and editing processes, as well as a finely tuned ear, because it rests on creating a final cut of an audio track that is ready for duplication and mass distribution.

Interview with a Music Production Professional

Jeff Wagoner graduated from Full Sail University with an Associate of Science degree in 2004 and now works as the full-time technical director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lynchburg, VA. This regional performing arts and education center has a wide range of programming: from an opera company in residence, to a rock, pop and folk concert series, to community and family oriented events.

What does your job at the Academy entail?

I’m responsible for running and maintaining all the sound and lighting equipment, as well as for building sets for different events and concerts, and for managing the production crew. We do everything from corporate functions and community productions to concerts by Grammy-winning artists like Marty Stuart and Lisa Marie Presley, and even comedians like Paula Poundstone. I also supervise the Opera on the James productions, which means I’m there to make sure that all the equipment is functioning as it should be for their production staff.

What does a typical day at the job look like?

I’m a full-time salaried employee, but it’s not necessarily 9-5 every Monday through Friday. It depends on what’s scheduled that week. It could be that you take a couple of weekdays off but work all weekend. It requires working a lot of holidays, weekends and nights. You have to be flexible, but it’s also nice that it’s not the same routine day in and day out, because there are no typical days.

In some cases, it can come down to loading in a show in the morning, working the show that night and then tearing it down when it’s over. That’s the routine if you’re working at a venue that has events every night, or with an artist who’s performing all the time. I’ve got a big production about once a month here. If it’s a theater group then they’re usually in for a week or longer. So you might start your week on a Sunday or Monday morning, and it might end on the following Sunday night. And then you get a down week every once in a while, when you get to recover and clean up.

But, that’s just your not-only-during-the-day day job, right?

Yes. I do freelance work on occasion, when time allows. Over the years I’ve acquired a lot of my own sound equipment, so I can do independent work for local bands and bars and restaurants, or small music festivals and area wine festivals when I have the time.

How did you find your way into a music production degree program?

I got into the technical side of music even before high school, and then really got into it doing high school theater. I then enrolled in a four-year program at Marshall and majored in theater. But I didn’t really take to the program. I wasn’t as studious as I probably should have been. Marshall had a great program, great facility and staff, but I didn’t take advantage of my time there. So, I withdrew, took a job at a theme park and got more into concert production. I found out that that’s really what I wanted to do, and that’s what brought me to Full Sail.

What did you like about your music production training program?

They did a really good job of giving us a broad overview of music production. We did studio production and recording, but we also covered video production, live audio for sporting events and concerts, and lighting for a variety of different things. It was a great introduction to the sheer range of options, and it put you in a position to get an internship doing almost anything in the field. So, it was a good way to figure out what kind of work you wanted to do and then go out and get experience actually working in that area.

What are some of the coolest experiences you’ve had in music production?

They are all different. You may be doing a lot of the same stuff and working with the same equipment, but it’s with different people. So it really comes down to that with me. Whether it’s a musician, a band, a comedian or something stranger like a troupe of Chinese acrobats, there are different challenges that make it interesting.

What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field?

The piece of paper you get with a degree program is great, but you have to be willing to go out and find the work. If you just think it’s going to be cool and easy, then you’re in for a surprise. That said, there’s definitely a creative side to it. But, there are also managerial responsibilities, and then there’s a lot of technical know-how. The gear these days is getting pretty fancy, so you have to know how to work with it.

After Music Production School: What’s Next

A certificate or degree from a music production school can open doors to many occupations in different settings, which makes it difficult to neatly encapsulate a typical trajectory.

If you prefer a mobile lifestyle on the road, traveling from venue to venue with a performer or a group, then live sound engineering is a viable choice. For the stability of a day job that incorporates the creativity of a music career, consider positions for studio engineers or sound system specialists at colleges, universities, large companies and institutions that rely on complex audio gear. Other options span the domains of broadcast media, multimedia online publishing, sports broadcasting, video game production and webcasting.

Finally, there’s the entrepreneurial route, which could mean designing and installing advanced components or recording audio for commercial purposes. Also possible are engineering sessions– for musicians, film or advertising projects–or even commercial voice-overs. Whatever the career decision, these fields are technologically driven and always changing, so music production schools offer a way to stay current with the latest developments.

Career Mean yearly wage Mean hourly wage Est. Growth No. Employed Minimum Education
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians $58,670 $28.21 9% 121,400 Postsecondary non-degree
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians $46,040 $22.13 14% 60,200 Postsecondary non-degree

Broadcast and Sound Engineers: operate, adjust, monitor, set up and take down audio equipment for broadcasts, live events, recording and more. Troubleshoot and resolve problems with complicated electronic equipment. Convert audio and visual files from one format to another.

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians: Work with computer sound or visual files, including compressing, digitizing, duplicating and storing. Perform repairs on equipment. Design layout of equipment, and move equipment around. Monitor feeds for sound and visual.

Advice From a Music Production Professional

Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s looking into applying
to a music production school?

A: At a technical school, you want to look up what some of their alumni are doing. You want to figure out where they are and what they’re doing. A lot of schools will mention their high-profile graduates, but not everyone is going to go out there and win a Grammy or a Tony Award. And, you might not get a job in the biggest cities. Which is fine. If there are graduates who are working in the field, at venues or on tours, then that’s a good sign. So, you want to look past the huge success stories, and figure out what it’s really like to work in the field.

Q: How about advice for those who are seriously considering a career in
music production?

A: It’s the same advice I give to anyone going into anything. If you think you know what you want to do in the field, then that’s where you should focus. But, if you’re not sure, then you need to find a way to continue your education while you’re getting out there and doing it. So, if you’re interested in doing sound engineering, find a local band or a local artist and volunteer to do a couple of bar gigs for them. If you’re good with coiling cable at two in the morning with a bunch of drunk people around you, then get a degree in live sound engineering. Or, find someone who’s willing to give you an internship. Music production schools are expensive because the people they have there know what they’re doing, and the gear they have is top notch. So, you’re going to get the education. But, it’s really important before you take that step to make sure that it’s really something that you want to do.