Music Recording Class and Course Descriptions

Essential Information

Music recording classes are part of music and audio technology degree or certificate programs at community colleges, vocational schools and universities. Certificate programs can take anywhere from a few months to one year to complete. Degrees are usually awarded on the associate level and can take about two years to complete, though such degree programs are usually only required for those interested in working as broadcast technicians. Some schools also offer bachelor's degrees in fields like music technology and audio technology. Both certificate and degree programs can prepare students for entry-level music recording work.

Here is an outline of the common concepts explored in music recording classes:

  • Musicianship
  • Anatomy of audio equipment
  • Basic recording and editing techniques
  • Principles of studio management
  • Business of the recording industry

List of Courses

Basic Music Recording

An introductory music recording course covers the basic equipment and techniques of digital and analog music recording. Elements include tape machine operation, condenser and dynamic microphones, microphone placement, signal processing and recording console theory. An introduction to mixing and editing is usually provided. Hands-on experience with studio equipment augments classroom instruction.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)

This course covers the history, theory and evolution of MIDI, an important development in music recording and instrumentation. Topics include channels and modes, MIDI language, hardware requirements and computer numbering systems. Students learn to program synthesizers with virtual instruments in the studio using digital workstations. This is a classroom-based course with a laboratory unit.

Music Fundamentals for Recording Engineers

Music fundamentals courses typically focus on music theory basics, such as keys, intervals and types of chords. A fundamentals course for recording engineers adds to that curriculum to include differentiating between musical idioms, recognizing orchestral instruments by ear and following lead sheets and classical scores. Commercial music forms and styles may also be touched on.

History and Survey of the Recording Industry

This course examines the evolution of the music recording industry from the pre-World War II era to the present. Emphasis is on the parallel developments of technology and musical styles. Beginning with the early recordings, the curriculum progresses through the early rock-and-roll era and includes the technological and stylistic changes that have taken place since the musical revolution of the 1960s. The impact of certain individuals and major record labels on these musical styles and the development of stereo and hi-fidelity are also addressed.

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