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Online Recording Arts Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online recording arts school. Read on to get an overview of the program options, timeframe factors, and common topics offered for the field of study.

When selecting an online program in recording arts, take note of the degree title and program delivery method, as they may differ by school. Online options are more often available for undergraduate awards.

How to Select an Online Recording Arts School

There are no online programs devoted specifically to the recording arts, but online music production and music technology programs approximate a recording arts education. Both teach the skills and theory necessary to prepare for a career in the music industry. Students must then weigh the award level with program delivery options.

Award Level

Undergraduate degree programs are available online in music production and music technology, the closest fields to recording arts. Depending on their career ambitions and scheduling flexibility, students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Music Production, an Associate of Arts in Music Technology or a certificate in music technology. Students pursuing an A.A. can take courses completely or partially online. Students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Music Production can pursue their degree online. Certificate students conduct their assignments online with consultations with instructors.

Program Delivery Options

Programs have online forums and frequently asked questions pages to answer students' questions. Prospective students can often log in to the courseware websites of various programs to compare the tools they provide. Students may also be able to take sample courses from different institutions before choosing one. Specialized software such as Pro Tools is usually required, and some programs provide enrolled students with the programs they will need.

List of Online Music Production and Technology Programs

Certificate in Music Production and Technology

This program teaches the fundamentals of engineering and producing music. Students learn how to use Pro Tools, among other software, which is downloaded and included as part of the cost of the course. Students take courses part-time and can usually complete certificate programs within a year or two. Some schools allow for concentrations, in areas such as Pro Tools, music business or song writing. Coursework can include:

  • Recording studio basics
  • Songwriter's workshop
  • Music production analysis

Associate of Arts in Music Technology

Students have the option of working at home or at workstations where they can interact with other students. Most programs last for about two years and include a general-education component. This degree program includes courses in:

  • Recording arts
  • Digital audio production
  • Art of mixing
  • Critical listening

Bachelor of Science in Music Production

This is a thorough program teaching the hardware and software to produce the student's own music. Students build a portfolio with which to seek employment after graduation. Programs include general-education classes in mathematics, science and the humanities and generally take 3-4 years of full-time study to complete. Coursework covers:

  • Psychology of play
  • Digital signal processing
  • Audio workstation hardware and software
  • Sequencing technology

Schools with Online Programs in Recording Arts

Full Sail University, a for-profit institution, offers online bachelor's degrees in both music and audio production. The online versions take 32 months to complete. Students in the music production program learn about music theory, composition, digital audio principles, engineering techniques, and other courses designed to prepare them for work in the industry. A laptop installed with audio software is used throughout the course of the program. Audio production focuses on similar applications, albeit on a broader level. It prepares students for recording work in multiple industries, such as television, film, music, and video games. Both programs take a computer-based approach to production.

Berklee College of Music offers an online bachelor's in music production. The aim is to provide students with creative, technical, and business skills. Students learn how to make and produce music, taking courses in mixing, editing, recording, and so forth. They also pursue concentrations in their area of interest, such as orchestration or music business. Online courses run for 12 weeks and are limited to 20 or fewer students. Specific software and hardware devices are required in addition to access to studio equipment.

Degrees in recording arts are available online, though usually in the forms of audio or music production, so be aware of what the degree offers and in what way it's presented to you. Students must also be able meet numerous technical specifications when working remotely.

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