Colleges for Music Production in the U.S.

Music producers work with recording artists, managers, marketers and sound engineers to oversee the completion of an album. Audio or music production degree programs offer students a chance to learn technical and musical skills, in addition to learning about the business side of the music industry.

How to Select a Music Production School

Music production programs may be found at recording schools, art schools, community colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Course offerings
  • Program level
  • Practical experience opportunities

Course Offerings

Music producers need expertise in both the professional and technical aspects of the recording industry. Therefore, individuals looking for suitable colleges for music production may want to seek recording arts programs that include courses in sound engineering, as well as business and communications.

Program Level

Prospective students must also choose between enrolling in a 4-year bachelor's degree program or a 2-year associate's degree program. The 4-year program typically provides more business courses, such as the business of music production, business writing and project management. Programs that are more robust include lessons on building marketing production plans, which is an important element for defining and measuring the success of an album. There are also programs that prepare students to do music production specifically for visual media, such as video games and films.

Practical Experience Opportunities

Technical training is also a major part of music production. Aspiring music producers want to look for schools that provide access to the newest audio equipment and computer software. Students may benefit from programs that contain practical experiences, such as co-op sessions or internships. Classes that are integral to technical education include mixing and production techniques, music theory and sound engineering. Schools should teach students how to use software programs, such as Avid, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.

Music Production Program Overviews

Associate's Degree in Music Production

Coursework in associate's degree programs focuses on the technical skills involved in audio production. Classes in business management and copyright law are typically included. Students complete general education requirements in math, social sciences and the humanities. Some programs allow students to earn credit from internships, and programs may culminate in the student creating a portfolio. It takes two years to complete most associate's degree programs, but some programs are offered on an accelerated schedule that allows full-time students to finish in one year. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required for admission. Core courses could include:

  • Audio production for visual media
  • Music production techniques
  • Music theory

Bachelor's Degree in Music Production

Bachelor's degree programs offer many of the same technical courses that associate's degree programs do, but usually offer more opportunities to develop a specialty or to take advanced production courses. Prospective music producers may complete an internship and capstone project. A 4-year degree program explores concepts in:

  • Sound synthesis
  • Studio techniques
  • Studio management
  • Harmony
  • Form and analysis

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