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Schools with Record Production Programs: How to Choose

To enter the professional world of music recording, students may enroll in certificate, diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree programs in recording and production, music production, audio recording technology or music technology. Four-year colleges and specialty schools, as well as community colleges and technical schools, offer programs in record production.

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Music, audio and recording technology programs offer courses and concentration areas that may apply to many professional settings, including theater, concert promotion and video production. Students interested in record production may focus their attention on programs that emphasize the music industry.

Schools with Record Production Programs

Here's a list of schools with applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Ball State University Muncie, Indiana 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $9,498
Out-of-state $25,016
Berklee College of Music Boston, Massachusetts 4-year, Private Bachelor's $40,082
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, California 4-year, Private Bachelor's, master's Undergraduate: $43,986 Graduate: $43,986
Nashville State Community College Nashville, Tennessee 2-year, Public Certificate In-state $3,873
Out-of-state $15,273
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota 2-year, Public Associate, certificate $5,638
Scottsdale Community College Scottsdale, Arizona 2-year, Public Associate, certificate In-state $2,046
Out-of-state $7,830
Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, New Jersey 4-year, Private Bachelor's $47,190
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $13,856
Out-of-state $43,476
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, Michigan 2-year, Public Certificate In-district $1,880
In-state $3,100
Out-of-state $4,160 (2016-2017)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics, school websites

School Selection Criteria

Some important points for students to consider:

  • A student with aspirations of working in commercial music, music promotion or marketing might choose recording programs with business or music industry emphases; future recording studio owners/managers might choose programs with small business management courses; and vocalists and musicians may choose degree programs offering performance courses in their instrument along with recording courses.
  • Program length should be taken into account, as programs are offered at the certificate, diploma, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels.
  • Up-to-date, on-site recording studios with a variety of software/hardware are highly recommended at the school of choice so students may gain hands-on experience working with industry equipment.
  • Programs providing internships in recording studios or live performance venues offer students practical experience with real-world scenarios and possible employment opportunities.

Certificate in Recording and Production

Certificate programs in recording and production can typically be completed in 2-3 semesters. The completion of an internship may be required.

Diploma in Music Production

Diploma programs in music production may offer less elective freedom than other levels of education. They commonly focus on equipment operation, mixing, post-production techniques, acoustics and multi-track recording.

Associate's Degree in Audio Recording Technology

Associate's degree programs in audio recording technology commonly include general education courses as well as music electives in history, theory and performance. Students are sometimes required to complete an internship as part of the program.

Bachelor's Degree in Music Technology

Bachelor's degree programs in music technology may be offered within broader music programs. Sometimes a performance audition is required for admission. Artistic and technical emphasis options may be available in bachelor's degree programs. In addition to internships, bachelor's degree programs cover classes like music engineering, copyright law, audio technology and critical listening.

When researching degree programs in music recording, students should ensure that the coursework matches their career aspirations, the facilities have advanced technology and internships are available.

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