Recording Arts College Program Information

Essential Information

Recording arts, also known as audio production, is a broad field involving the use of sound technology in music, television and other forms of media. Recording arts college programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Undergraduate degree programs will require students to provide a high school diploma, portfolio and SAT or ACT scores, while graduate programs ask applicants to have a bachelor's degree, GRE scores and a portfolio or satisfactory scores on a technical competency exam prior to application.

Depending on the program chosen, students may spend between two and five years of full-time study earning their degree. Due to the technical nature of the field, program curricula generally combine classroom learning with lab experiences.

Associate's Degrees in Recording Arts

Associate's degree programs in recording arts prepare students for entry-level positions in the recording industry. Students learn foundational techniques in such areas as music recording, mixing board operation and recording equipment repair. A significant portion of time is devoted to working in a laboratory environment where students can gain practical experience with recording equipment. This is complemented by the classroom study of audio theory and history. Course topics include:

  • Introduction to recording arts
  • Recording arts theory
  • MIDI systems
  • Digital recording
  • Recording lab
  • Introduction to the music business

Bachelor's Degrees in Recording Arts

Recording arts college programs at the bachelor's level provide technical, career-oriented training. Students are taught to use sophisticated recording equipment in the lab while also learning music and recording theory in the classroom. Bachelor's degree programs are most commonly available at 4-year colleges and universities. Some colleges offer programs that combine music performance studies with recording technology education; these programs typically require five years to complete. Common courses cover:

  • Studio equipment
  • Digital audio theory
  • Multi-track recording
  • Sound for film and television
  • Basic electricity
  • Recording equipment repair and maintenance

Master's Degree in Recording Arts

Recording arts colleges offering master's degrees prepare students for leadership and management roles in the audio production industries. Recording arts master's degree programs are pursued by individuals with some experience in the field, including recording professionals who are interested in advancing their careers. These programs typically require 2-3 years of full-time study and involve extensive laboratory work. Common courses include:

  • Multi-track recording
  • Audio aesthetics
  • MIDI production
  • Digital audio techniques
  • Audio forensics
  • Fundamentals of musical acoustics

Popular Career Options

Individuals completing associate's degree programs in recording arts may be qualified for entry-level work in positions requiring recording technology expertise. Work in this field is largely freelance, and available positions may include recording studio technician, audio editor, and assistant music producer. Graduates of bachelor's and master's degree programs may pursue higher level jobs including music producer, mastering engineer, sound engineer, film and television dialogue editor, and audio forensic specialist.

Depending on what kind of job you are looking for, you may choose to study recording arts at either the associate's, bachelor's or master's degree level. All programs prepare students for the realities of working in the field, with master's degree programs preparing graduates to take on leadership and managerial roles within the industry.

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