Online audio production degrees - sometimes called music production or music technology degrees - can culminate in either a bachelor's or master's degree. A bachelor's degree takes about four years, while a master's degree requires an undergraduate degree in a music-related discipline and takes about one year to complete. Students taking audio production courses through distance education need access to computers with specialized software for recording and mixing audio, as well as an Internet connection capable of uploading the audio files for assignments. Going into an online audio production degree, students need to be comfortable and familiar with sound equipment and music theory.
Bachelor's Degree in Audio Production
Recording, editing and producing sound are at the heart of this degree program. Part of the program teaches students the technical skills needed for working a digital mixing board, advanced computer software and additional recording equipment. The other part focuses on creativity and lets students express their ideas through the audio process. Audio production degrees can go by a variety of names such as music production or music technology.
Program Information and Requirements
An online bachelor's degree in audio production can be earned in approximately four years although some schools offer programs in less time. Students generally must complete their online classes at predefined intervals. Undergraduates produce their audio projects and complete their assignments entirely from their own computers. Most schools provide an online portal system through which students can check assignments and interact with their classmates and instructors.
Audio production programs rely heavily on computers, which must have extensive hard drive space and memory. Other items include industry-standard software programs, speakers, headsets and microphones. Some programs provide a loaded laptop and basic equipment with the cost of tuition.
Classes in the program can be technically intensive, requiring a high level of comfort with computers, knowledge of musical theory and familiarity with studio equipment. The hands-on courses are complemented by a selection of general education classes needed to complete the degree.
Students learn the basics of digital audio, including the theory behind sound recordings, methods of recording and the various formats used. They learn about technology like digital signal processing, which is used in devices like cell phones, compact disc players and computers.
Principles of Recording
This course familiarizes students with the tools used in a recording studio and the industry-standard software needed to complete their music projects. Students learn about the common devices used and the best ways to maximize them, ideal studio set-ups and troubleshooting recording problems.
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Master's Degree in Music Technology
A bachelor's degree is needed before a student can start their graduate work. Most schools require students to display a sound knowledge of music theory through an audition, a recorded performance or in-person interview. Few, if any, colleges or universities offer an online graduate program specifically in audio production. Students can instead pursue degrees in music technology.
Program Information and Requirements
For most students, a graduate degree in music technology can be completed in one academic year. If done through distance education, students participate in class through live streaming video at most schools. Occasionally, a course can only be taken on campus because of technical requirements. When the degree is earned remotely, students may also be limited on the types of available electives.
Students will need a computer capable of processing audio and video, which requires ample hard- drive space and memory. Because of the audio component, students should also have speakers and headphones for use on projects. Additionally, a high-speed Internet connection is necessary to participate in class lectures. Students should check the technical requirements for their program before they begin.
Music technology courses at the graduate level cultivate an understanding of the history and theory of music production and technology. Programs also teach students to use the available technology to produce professional audio recordings and multimedia presentations.
Introduction to Music Technology
This class explores the origins and principles of music production in both analog and digital forms. Students also learn about music technology as an industry, the law governing the field and arts management.
This course is a hands-on class designed to teach students the basics of digital sound production, including recording methods, editing and storing. Using editing software, students create projects with one, two and multiple tracks.
The course covers the commonly used digital technology known as musical instrument digital interface or MIDI. Students work with MIDI sequencers, which can record notes as they're played and provide playback features. They also learn to edit their music by completing course projects.
With a bachelor's degree in audio production, graduates can find work as sound engineering technicians. Employment in the field is expected to grow 8% between 2014 and 2024, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual wage was $53,330 in May 2015, according to (www.bls.org).
Graduates of a music technology program often find work as music teachers, music directors and music composers. The median annual salary of postsecondary music teachers, and their counterparts in art and drama, was $35,340 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Music directors and composers earned a median annual wage of $49,820 in May 2015, and the bureau expected their ranks to grow by 3% through May 2024 (www.bls.gov).
Online bachelor's and master's degree programs in audio production teach students about digital audio, recording and music production. These programs often prepare students for careers as sound engineering technicians, music teachers or composers.