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Colleges with Music Technology Majors: How to Choose

Music technology is concerned with the equipment used in the production of music. The field entails the use of traditional musical instruments as well as computers, sequencers, editing software and electronic instrumentation to produce, present and record music. When choosing a school, students should consider factors like music studio facilities and class size.

How to Select a Music Technology School

Schools offer music technology training at the associate's, bachelor's or master's degree levels. Some schools also offer career certificates.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Types of programs and curriculum
  • School facilities
  • Class size
  • Extracurricular activities

Types of Programs and Curriculum

These programs generally provide an education in the fundamental concepts of music appreciation along with practical experience in the technology and techniques of sound effects and audio production. When selecting a school, students should compare different programs for their content and quality to determine which is best for their particular interest. Candidates may also want to consider if a program at a 4-year university or a technical school training program is right for them.

School Facilities

Individuals who are comparing music technology programs should look closely at the school's music production studios. Studios are where critiquing, collaboration and presentation occur. These are important aspects to a musical artist's development.

It is imperative that music studios be well designed, contain up-to-date equipment and be readily accessible to students. Students should also be exposed to today's digital technologies and computer software, which enable today's music and recording artists to produce high quality work outside the music studio.

Class Size

Students pursuing music technology may desire close access to professors and small group relationships in their classrooms. To ensure this access, students should look for schools with small class enrollments.

Extracurricular Activities

It is also advisable to find schools that have numerous campus music production projects and opportunities to work in community events. Students may also want to join an audiovisual club or a music performance group to gain an edge on the competition.

Program Overviews in Music Technology

Certificate

Completion time for a career certificate in music technology is usually 12 months or less. Admission generally requires a high school diploma or GED along with completion of a reading and writing proficiency exam. Certificate programs generally design their training to cover aspects of music production and recording, such as:

  • Digital audio editing
  • Performance
  • Recording
  • Marketing and promotion

Associate's Degree

Applicants are usually required to have a high school diploma or GED and may need to take an academic proficiency test for placement in general education classes. Generally, associate's degrees are completed as 2-year programs. Associate's degrees in music technology usually have general education courses in math, science and communications in addition to a core of music technology courses. Support courses might include:

  • Music business
  • Jazz
  • Swing

Bachelor's Degree

Music technology programs in universities and traditional 4-year colleges typically have a very strong general education component with classes in advanced math, the sciences and communications. Students frequently take internships and complete senior capstone projects. Universities and colleges typically require a high school diploma or GED and good scores from a college admittance exam, such as the ACT or SAT.

There is a core of courses that covers:

  • Music techniques
  • Sound production
  • Music theory

There are usually opportunities to specialize in such areas as music and sound for live concerts and sporting events or for video games, animation and video productions.

Master's Degree

Programs generally last 2-3 years and consist of seminars, along with production or research projects. Applicants are usually asked to submit transcripts, preferably from a bachelor's degree program related to music, along with results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students who complete a master's degree program are usually qualified for admission to doctoral programs.

A master's degree in music technology gives students the opportunity to acquire advanced training in a specialized area. This might be in a technical aspect, such as music synthesis, multi-track recording or sound aesthetics through technology; or it may be in a non-technical aspect such as music interpretation or translation. Common coursework may address topics like:

  • Digital audio
  • Musical production
  • Interactive design

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