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Music Recording Degree Program Information

Explore associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs--including objectives, requirements, and coursework--in music recording. In addition, see which popular career options are available, and review salary statistics and job outlook.

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Essential Information

For those interested in studying music recording and/or having a career in music technology, degree options at the associate's, bachelor's and master's level are available.

Within an associate's music recording program, students receive extensive hands-on training with state-of-the-art technology and are taught the legal and technical aspects of audio recording distribution, wave-file editing, Pro-Tools software and marketing strategies. Undergraduate applicants merely need a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll.

Bachelor's curriculum is more in-depth and can prepare enrollees for audio engineering and production positions. Some programs require applicants to be classically trained and/or pass an ear training and performance audition.

The master's path is research-based and has the most advanced courses, with concentrations in associated areas, like production and technical elements. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in a related field or a knowledge base in production to enroll. In order to graduate, students need to complete a practicum.


Associate's Degree in Music Recording

Most courses at this level fall into the categories of commercial music (like a class on small business), music theory and audio recording. Common course topics include:

  • Acoustics
  • Recording engineering
  • Live sound production techniques
  • Communication
  • Promotion methods in entertainment
  • Maintenance of equipment

Bachelor's Degree in Music Recording

Music recording bachelor's programs are more technically focused. Applicants knowledgeable in basic music theory and sight-reading will have an advantage. Students explore production practices, experimental audio technology, pedagogy, mastering and mixing, sequencing, synchronization and aesthetics, among many other topics. They also have the opportunity to participate in a chorus and several other types of performance ensembles, such as vocal jazz, guitar and percussion. Internships are completed in studios and at record companies. Some required courses are:

  • Acoustics
  • Audio mastering
  • Music production
  • Music business
  • Digital/analog audio recording systems and techniques
  • Recording engineering

Master's Degree in Music Recording

At this level, the curricula offered is very refined, focused and technologically advanced. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in recording arts or a closely related field, and a familiarity with studio maintenance and calibration, musical physics and acoustics, computer music and recording techniques. Some core subjects involve the following:

  • Analysis of recordings
  • Audio technologies and production
  • Sound recording technology research
  • Multi-track recording and monitoring
  • Professional audio topics
  • Forensics in audio

Popular Career Options

Graduates can work as recording engineers in various professional settings, including:

  • Recording studios
  • Video and movie productions
  • Theatre productions
  • Sporting arenas

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for sound engineering technicians is expected to grow at a rate of 8% over the 2014-2024 decade. These professionals earned a mean salary of $63,340 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Students seeking an education in music recording can find programs available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. After graduation, students can pursue a career as a sound engineering technician and work in a variety of different settings including recording studios and theatre productions, among others.

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