music production Degrees

Music production is the art of creating music in a recording studio. Music producers specialize in helping musicians achieve the desired sound and style of a recording. To accomplish this goal, music producers use advanced recording equipment, musical instruments and a knowledge of audio engineering.

Studying to become a music producer can involve instruction in a wide variety of topics. Courses of study typically include audio engineering, music recording, audio software training and the proper use of microphones and instruments. A music production degree program can give students a detailed knowledge of current musical trends as well as an understanding of the music industry.

Some colleges for music production place a high amount of emphasis on musicianship as well as technological skills. Music production major students can take courses in music performance, composition and arranging. Some schools for music production require students to submit an audition tape in order to be considered for admittance into the program. While it is not necessary to be a musician to be a music producer, these schools help students to develop skills in many diverse areas of the music industry.

The National Association of Schools of Music is one of the primary accreditation bodies for audio production schools. However, some of most prestigious music production colleges in the country are not accredited by the NASM. This is usually because some audio production colleges offer unique curriculum courses that fall outside of the scope of NASM requirements. Some non-accredited universities offer excellent, well-respected music production degrees.

Associate of Science in Audio Production

This degree focuses on the recording and reproduction of all kinds of live sound. Students will study how to use recording equipment and how to engineer live broadcasts. Courses will include an introduction into the music industry and how to find entry-level jobs in this field.

Most associate's degrees take nine months to two years to complete. Prerequisites can include a high school diploma, acceptable SAT or ACT scores and, for some schools, a letter of recommendation.

Some course examples include:

  • Audio Engineering

  • Music Fundamentals

  • History of Popular Music

  • Intro to the Music Business

This degree can open up entry-level employment opportunities in the music industry. Some examples include:

  • Audio Engineer

  • Concert Promoter

  • Assistant Sound Technician

Bachelor of Science in Music Production

Bachelor's degree programs in music production take longer to complete but offer more intensive training and more career opportunities. Students in these programs can take courses that explore every aspect of the music industry, including marketing and promotion. Typically, bachelor's degree programs focus on music production training that goes beyond a basic understanding of the craft. Students may have the opportunity to apply for internships, attend conferences and work alongside established professionals.

Most bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete. Some schools provide students with the option to attend courses over the summer or winter break, enabling them to complete the program sooner. Also, students who transfer from community college may be able to get transfer credit when they enroll in four-year music production programs at a university.

Some course examples include:

  • Audio Fundamentals

  • Digital Recording Principles

  • Advanced Music Theory

  • Music Business Management

A bachelor's degree in music production can open up many employment opportunities. Some possible employment options with this degree can include:

  • Artist Manager

  • Music Editor

  • Audio Post-production Assistant

  • Music Research Assistant

Bachelor of Science in Music Production and Recording Arts

This bachelor's degree program places a greater emphasis on the craft of song creation in addition to technological skills. Students study topics like songwriting, music theory, music composition and performance. Students also have the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to learning how the music industry works and how albums are created in recording studios.

This degree usually takes four years to complete. Prerequisites can include a high school diploma and acceptable SAT and/or ACT. Some schools will require students to audition or provide a portfolio when applying to a music production program.

The courses in this degree program focus on musical skills as well as technological abilities. Some example courses include:

  • Physics of Sound

  • Music Postproduction

  • The Art of Songcraft

  • Introduction to Composition

Graduates of this degree program have an advantage in the music industry job market. Possible jobs with this degree can include:

  • Recording Engineer

  • Composer of Theater Music

  • Session Musician

  • Club DJ

  • Studio Manager