Music Production Schools And Degrees (2022)

Table of Contents
Music Production Schools The World of Music Production Top Online Programs Music Production Schools and Degree Programs Vocational Schools Art Schools Community Colleges Four Year Colleges Music Production Schools Best Music Production Schools and Programs OUR METHODOLOGY + Houghton College University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Converse College Nazareth College Malone University Ohio Northern University Union University Samford University Elmhurst College Baldwin Wallace University Michigan Technological University Judson University Bradley University SUNY at Fredonia Westminster College Ouachita Baptist University Cedarville University Hope College Ohio State University-Main Campus Greenville University Top Online Programs Music Production Quick Facts Must Have List for Music Production Schools Check, Five, Six. . . Music Production Degrees and Certificates Music Production Certificates Music Production Associate Degrees Music Production Bachelor's Degrees Music Production Graduate Degrees Music Production Toolbox/Checklist Music Production and Sound Design Specializations Interview with a Music Production Professional What does your job at the Academy entail? What does a typical day at the job look like? But, that's just your not-only-during-the-day day job, right? How did you find your way into a music production degree program? What did you like about your music production training program? What are some of the coolest experiences you've had in music production? What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field? After Music Production School: What's Next Advice From a Music Production Professional Videos

Music Production Schools

Music production specialists work behind the scenes and behind the music, as recording engineers and live sound technicians, in studio production, sound mixing and other capacities. There are many facets to a career in music production and numerous paths to attaining success, from sound engineering to audio technology and beyond. This step-by-step guide examines different educational programs and offers useful advice from a professional in the field.

The World of Music Production

Music is everywhere — in films and television, on the radio and the Internet, and, of course, in clubs, theaters and concert halls. This isn't even counting the “muzak” in elevators and dentists' offices. Much of that music might never be heard if not for a special class of creatively minded, technically skilled professionals. Music production specialists in different disciplines capture, compose, amplify and ultimately shape the soundtrack of our world.

The term "music production" encompasses a remarkably wide range of activities: from installing and maintaining sophisticated audio components and systems to working behind digital mixing consoles in recording studios or concert venues. Specialties include touring with bands, symphony orchestras and theater productions, not to mention facilitating live and recorded audio portions of television, radio and Internet broadcasts. Job descriptions also include designing and overseeing sound systems for schools, hotels, office buildings, community facilities and an array of other settings.

A March 19, 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal detailed changes in the music industry. The oft-overlooked army of sound engineers, once called "roadies," are now regarded as skilled “concert technicians.” This group of professionals also shows increasing diversity in the workforce makeup. The article notes the growing clout of technical positions such as DJs and sound mixers at shows, festivals and other live venues.

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Music Production Schools and Degree Programs

The rapid rate of technological advances has only heightened the need for professionals who are trained in the elements of audio science, up-to-date on the latest digital hardware and software developments, and capable of a finely tuned aesthetic sensibility. Targeted programs from music production schools offer ways to learn the tools of the trade and art of the craft. There are many to choose from, including programs for certificates, associate and bachelor's degrees, or for those looking to move into the top echelons of the field, master's degrees.

Options for music production studies include community colleges, technical and vocational schools, four-year universities, and more specialized art institutes and music schools. There are also an increasing number of online opportunities. The curriculum depends on the school and specialization, but generally focuses on three basic areas: the science and technology of audio recording, the aesthetic elements of sound engineering and the business side of the field.

Vocational Schools

Because even entry-level jobs in music production require a fair amount of technical expertise and familiarity with the equipment used by audio and concert engineers, vocational schools offer certificate programs designed to prepare students to begin work in the field. Studies may take one year to complete. Often falling under the general heading of sound engineering technician certificates, these programs go into the basics of setting up, breaking down and operating the sound equipment used at live events held in clubs, theaters and sporting arenas, as well as on festival and fair grounds. Students also learn how to work in studio and broadcast production settings, and familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of mixing sound at an audio console.

Art Schools

Community Colleges

Many community colleges have one-year certificate options for students who are looking to test the waters in the field of music production. However, community college programs are generally centered on two-year degrees such as Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences. This is one path for students who don't want to commit to a bachelor's degree, but would like to keep that option open by fulfilling the necessary general education coursework required to transfer into such a program. A community college associate degree program can give students a firm foundation in audio mixing and engineering for both studio and live sound settings, while introducing the many applications of these techniques in broadcast and online media.

Four Year Colleges

In addition to bachelor's degree programs in music production from art and music schools, many traditional colleges and universities, both large and small, have similar offerings. One of the primary differences tends to be what's available in terms of coursework and activities outside of the core area of study. Four-year colleges have general education requirements in addition to courses in music, sound engineering and audio sciences. On the other hand, these colleges also give music production majors the opportunity for a minor or a concentration in a subject that might be beneficial, such as business, psychology or musicology.

Music Production Schools

A Guide to Practical Art Degrees

Art School Careers

Art School Degrees Online

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Art School

Best Music Production Schools and Programs

OUR METHODOLOGY +

Accredited Schools Online uses a proprietary blend of cost, quality, and student support services to determine overall rankings. The supporting data comes from reputable sources including the schools themselves. We focus our rankings on accredited and not-for-profit institutions.

Our data analysis team and higher education experts have worked together to create a scoring system that includes key qualitative and quantitative measures. The data attributes are then weighted based on relevance.

The scoring methodology includes factors such as:

  • financial aid
  • Number of programs and program offerings
  • Student-teacher ratios
  • Graduation rates
  • Placement and support services offered
  • Academic/Career counseling services
  • Employment services
  • And many others

These factors are assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or bang for your buck of a college or degree program.

Music students have a number of options to consider when choosing a program. Whether their interests lie in composing, conducting or performance, they must choose a school that not only offers training toward their preferred career paths, but that will help them develop within the genre they specialize in, be it classical, soundtrack or electronic music. Taking into consideration factors like the number of programs, cost, and student-teacher-ratio, we've identified the top online and on-campus music programs in the country to help students begin narrowing down their choices. The following schools rose to the top of the pack as the best in music production programs. Find the list and begin your search below.

#1

Houghton College

School Information
Location Houghton, New York
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 75%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Houghton College is a private college offering premier bachelor's-level education to students worldwide. Undergraduates benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. According to the college, undergraduates can access 52 bachelor's programs on campus or pursue remote study across six degree tracks.

Students pursuing the bachelor's in music connect with a supportive learning community. Degree-seekers take foundational classes as well as advanced coursework. Enrollees can modify their schedule and choose electives.

Learners can declare minors, concentrations, and further customize their studies by working with an academic advisor. Degree candidates can access numerous institutional resources, including career services and academic advising.

Interested applicants can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships and other educational funding. The institution reports that 99% of all learners receive some form of financial aid.

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#2

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

School Information
Location Ann Arbor, Michigan
Admission Rate 23%
Graduation Rate 93%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Individuals looking for a premier bachelor's-level education that fits their schedule should consider University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. A leader in hybrid education, the public college supports both in-person and online learning. To date, the public college supports 129 bachelor's programs, including one that runs entirely online. One option includes a bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre.

The college connects students with peers, faculty, and staff across campus-based and remote learning communities. Degree candidates build competency through rigorous coursework and industry-relevant lectures. Learners can also pursue internships, research projects, and experiential learning opportunities.

Students can select electives, concentrations, and minors. Throughout their program, learners can work with career services and academic advising to receive further guidance.

The college connects enrollees with a variety of funding opportunities to defray educational costs. The institution reports that 65% of all students receive some form of financial aid.

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#3

Converse College

School Information
Location Spartanburg, South Carolina
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Converse College supports flexible educational opportunities for undergraduates. The college provides 49 bachelor's degrees from its campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. One option includes a bachelor of music in performance.

After enrollment, students join a supportive learning community, connecting with peers, faculty, and staff in person and online. Degree-seekers complete major-specific coursework and attend industry-relevant lectures.

Students can collaborate with an academic advisor to customize their degree. Degree candidates can also take advantage of institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, to receive further guidance.

When preparing for the costs of education, interested applicants can meet with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities. The school reports that 99% of all enrollees get some form of aid.

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#4

Nazareth College

School Information
Location Rochester, New York
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Nazareth College supports a variety of undergraduate-level programs. Located in Rochester, New York, the private institution offers competitive, flexible programs that students can complete in person or online. Enrollees pursuing a bachelor of arts in music gain access to a supportive learning community regardless of their location.

Learners across modalities benefit from a robust curriculum. Degree-seekers build competency through rigorous coursework and industry-relevant lectures. Students gain skills and knowledge through their engagement with general and advanced classes.

Learners can customize their study by working with an academic advisor. A leader in students success, the college connects enrollees with career services, academic advising, and other supportive resources.

Applicants can meet with a financial aid counselor to explore funding opportunities. Of all enrollees, 100% receive some form of financial aid.

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#5

Malone University

School Information
Location Canton, Ohio
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Malone University is a private college offering premier bachelor's-level education to students worldwide. A leader in hybrid education, the college supports both in-person and online learning. Enrollees pursuing a bachelor's in music gain access to a supportive learning community regardless of their location.

Degree-seekers complete industry-relevant coursework and attend lectures, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Enrollees work with an academic advisor and customize their degree to meet their academic and career goals. Throughout their studies, learners can work with career services and academic advising to receive further guidance.

The college connects enrollees with a variety of funding opportunities to defray educational costs. To date, 100% of all learners receive financial aid.

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#6

Ohio Northern University

School Information
Location Ada, Ohio
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 77%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Ohio Northern University provides flexible study for bachelor's degree-seekers. The college supports hybrid study from its main campus in Ada. One option for degree-seekers includes a bachelor's in music composition. Regardless of location, students can connect with peers, faculty, and staff through a supportive learning community.

Degree-seekers benefit from a robust education, completing coursework that familiarizes them with the field. Students gain skills and knowledge through their engagement with general and advanced classes.

Learners can customize their studies, choose electives, and declare concentrations and minors. Students seeking academic and career guidance can connect with campus resources, such as academic advising and career services.

Applicants can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships and other educational funding. At the college, 100% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

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#7

Union University

School Information
Location Jackson, Tennessee
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University provides flexible educational opportunities for learners worldwide. Undergraduate students benefit from hybrid learning opportunities, with the option to study in person or online. The college campus and online learning environment enable students to connect with peers, faculty, and staff during their studies.

Whether they enroll on campus or online, students pursuing a bachelor's in music theory join a supportive learning community. Degree candidates complete major-specific coursework as part of the curriculum. Participants take foundational and advanced coursework, with the option to modify their schedule and choose electives.

Learners can collaborate with an academic advisor to customize their program. Degree-seekers can also connect with career services to receive guidance throughout the program.

The college connects students with scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. The school reports that 100% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

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#8

Samford University

School Information
Location Birmingham, Alabama
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 76%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Students seeking a flexible education can explore Samford University's in-person and online degrees, including a bachelor of arts in commercial music. The Birmingham, Alabama, school offers 90 in-person bachelor's degrees. Learners across modalities connect with peers and faculty through a supportive learning community.

Degree-seekers complete foundational and advanced coursework throughout their studies. By working with an academic advisor, students can customize their coursework, select electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations. Enrollees can access institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, throughout the course of their program.

Prospective applicants can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid.

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#9

Elmhurst College

School Information
Location Elmhurst, Illinois
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Elmhurst College, a private college in Elmhurst, Illinois, provides flexible study options for undergraduate students near and far. The college supports 75 bachelor's programs, with two enabling fully remote study. One option includes a bachelor of music.

Learners complete foundational and advanced coursework throughout their studies. Degree-seekers can work with an academic advisor to customize their degree. Enrollees can access institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, throughout the course of their studies.

A financial aid counselor can help interested applicants determine their eligibility for funding and explore scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of aid.

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#10

Baldwin Wallace University

School Information
Location Berea, Ohio
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Baldwin Wallace University provides premier programs suitable for undergraduate students, including a bachelor's in music. Learners can choose from in-person or online bachelor's degrees. Students across modalities connect with peers and faculty through a supportive learning community.

Degree candidates complete foundational and advanced coursework, gaining skills and knowledge relevant to their field. By working with an academic advisor, students can customize their coursework, select electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations. Throughout their program, students can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

Applicants can meet with a financial aid counselor to determine their eligibility for funding and explore scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of aid. The college notes that 98% of all enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

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#11

Michigan Technological University

School Information
Location Houghton, Michigan
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Located in Houghton, Michigan Technological University provides flexible educational opportunities for learners worldwide. The public institution offers hybrid degrees at the undergraduate level. Learners can choose from one of 57 bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor's in music.

Degree candidates connect with colleagues, faculty, and staff in a supportive learning community. As part of the program curriculum, students complete major-specific coursework and attend industry-relevant lectures. Enrollees can pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and research projects.

Degree-seekers can customize their studies, choose electives, and declare concentrations and minors. A leader in student success, the college connects enrollees with career services, academic advising, and other supportive resources.

Eligible students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. The institution reports that 96% of all learners receive some form of financial aid.

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#12

Judson University

School Information
Location Elgin, Illinois
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Judson University, a private college in Elgin, Illinois, provides flexible study options for undergraduate students near and far. The college supports 47 bachelor's programs, with nine enabling fully remote study. Undergraduate students benefit from skilled faculty, rigorous coursework, and a supportive learning environment.

Enrollees pursuing the bachelor's in music performance gain skills and knowledge suitable for the field through lectures, coursework, and other learning opportunities. Students can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree and study trajectory. Learners receive guidance throughout their studies through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Degree-seekers can meet with a financial aid counselor to determine their eligibility for funding and explore scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of aid. The institution reports that 100% of all learners receive some form of financial aid.

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#13

Bradley University

School Information
Location Peoria, Illinois
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 77%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Bradley University provides premier degrees suitable for undergraduate students. The private college offers 117 bachelor's programs, including a bachelor's in music performance. Enrollees gain access to a supportive learning environment during their studies.

Learners benefit from foundational and advanced coursework as well as industry-specific lectures. Degree candidates can customize their studies by choosing electives and declaring minors and degree concentrations. Throughout their program, students can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

Degree-seekers can explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid in consultation with the financial aid office. At the college, 100% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

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#14

SUNY at Fredonia

School Information
Location Fredonia, New York
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 64%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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SUNY at Fredonia provides premier programs suitable for undergraduate students. Learners can enroll in one of 73 campus-based bachelor's programs, including a bachelor's in music industry. Degree-seekers benefit from connecting with premier faculty and a supportive learning community.

Students complete foundational and advanced coursework. They can pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities. Learners can customize their studies by choosing electives and declaring minors and concentrations. Throughout their program, students can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

Prospective applicants can meet with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid. The average financial aid package totals $8,709.

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#15

Westminster College

School Information
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Admission Rate 92%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Undergraduate students seeking competitive study should consider one of Westminster College's 80 bachelor's programs. Of these offerings, three run fully online. Degree-seekers pursuing a bachelor's in music industry benefit from a supportive learning environment and personalized interactions with faculty and staff.

Enrollees complete foundational and advanced coursework. They can also pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities. Degree-seekers can modify their classes, choose electives, and declare minors and concentrations. Students can receive further guidance through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Eligible degree-seekers can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other funding toward their educational expenses. According to the institution, 99% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

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#16

Ouachita Baptist University

School Information
Location Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Students seeking a flexible education can explore Ouachita Baptist University's in-person and online degrees. To date, the college offers 72 in-person bachelor's programs and one that runs entirely online.

Enrollees pursuing the bachelor's in musical theatre complete general and advanced coursework, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their field. Students can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree and study trajectory. Throughout their program, enrollees can access resources such as career services, academic advising, and library services.

Applicants may be eligible for funding, such as scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. The college notes that 99% of all enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

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#17

Cedarville University

School Information
Location Cedarville, Ohio
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 75%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Individuals looking for a premier bachelor's-level education that fits their schedule should consider Cedarville University. Students can pursue remote study or learn from the college's campus in Cedarville, Ohio. According to the college, undergraduates can access 75 bachelor's degrees on campus. One option includes a bachelor of music in composition.

Whether in person or online, students join a supportive learning community, working alongside peers, faculty, and staff. Music students follow a rigorous curriculum. Learners can also pursue internships, research projects, and experiential learning opportunities to supplement their education.

Enrollees work with an academic advisor and customize their degree to meet their academic and career goals. Degree candidates seeking academic and career guidance can connect with campus resources, such as career services.

The college connects enrollees with a variety of funding opportunities to defray educational costs.

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#18

Hope College

School Information
Location Holland, Michigan
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 81%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Looking for a premier education to jumpstart your career? Consider one of the 61 bachelor’s degrees from Hope College. One option includes a bachelor's in jazz. Students benefit from a supportive learning environment and personalized interactions with faculty and staff.

Enrollees complete foundational and advanced coursework. They can also pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities. In consultation with an academic advisor, degree-seekers can customize their coursework, select electives, and declare minors and concentrations. Enrollees can receive further guidance through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

The college connects students with numerous funding opportunities, from scholarships to federal financial aid. At the college, 96% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

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#19

Ohio State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Looking for a premier education to jumpstart your career? Consider one of the 155 bachelor’s degrees from Ohio State University-Main Campus. The public college also offers two bachelor's programs that run entirely online. Students across modalities connect with peers and faculty through a supportive learning community.

Learners pursuing the bachelor of arts in music become better prepared for their future careers. In consultation with an academic advisor, students can customize their coursework, select electives, and declare minors and concentrations. Enrollees can access career services, academic advising, and other resources throughout their program.

Students can explore their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid by working with the financial aid office. The institution reports that 79% of all learners receive some form of financial aid.

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#20

Greenville University

School Information
Location Greenville, Illinois
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 56%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Individuals looking for a premier bachelor's-level education that fits their schedule should consider Greenville University. Learners can pursue remote study or learn from the college's campus in Greenville, Illinois. The college campus and online learning environment enable students to connect with peers, faculty, and staff during their studies.

Enrollees pursuing a bachelor's in music connect with a supportive learning community. Degree-seekers complete general and music-specific coursework. Participants take foundational and advanced coursework, with the option to modify their schedule and choose electives.

Degree candidates can declare minors and concentrations. Students can further customize their studies by working with an academic advisor. Degree-seekers can receive guidance through career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

To defray the costs of education, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. At the college, 100% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

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(Video) Music Production School - Is it worth it ???

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Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Music Production Quick Facts

The job market for broadcast and sound engineering technicians should grow by 9% in the 2012-2022 time frame.Growth comes from updates to audio and video infrastructure and capabilities for clients ranging from corporations to radio and TV stations.Academic institutions are upgrading equipment with features such as interactive whiteboards and video equipment for multimedia presentations.The Wall Street Journal describes strong job opportunities for music production techs in live music venues, more so than in the traditional recording industry.

Must Have List for Music Production Schools

When choosing a music production program, important considerations include institutional quality standards, fieldwork opportunities and access to the actual gear used in this industry.

Curriculum
Music production is an applied skill. While a background in music theory, the aesthetics of sounds and other more theoretically based disciplines can be helpful, it's critical to be familiar with the tools of the trade—for example, the hardware and software commonly found in studios, live venues or broadcast media.
Accreditation
No central organization accredits music production programs. Schools should be accredited on an institutional level by regional or national organizations that are recognized by agencies such as the Department of Education.
Faculty
Look for knowledgeable faculty with academic credentials and a teaching background as well as experience applying the science of music production outside of academia.
Internships/Work Study
Having a certificate or a degree has become more essential, but there's no substitute for practicing the art and science of music production in a real-world setting. Internships and fieldwork are also a good way of figuring out what area or specialization best suits your interests and skill set.
Recording Studios
The craft of music production is grounded in an understanding of how music is recorded, mixed and mastered for final approval. Ask schools about their facilities to make sure you will be intimately acquainted with the nuts and bolts of the recording studio by the time you graduate.
Digital and MIDI Assets
Students need instruction and hands-on time with the hardware and programming software that underlies sound engineering in computer-based recording, specifically Pro Tools and Logic, as well as Avid audio interfaces. Also important is MIDI, or musical instrument digital interface, which is the industry standard for connecting analog instruments to digital recording equipment. Because music is converging with video, it does not hurt to look for training in Final Cut Pro software for video editing, production and rendering.
Microphones
It may seem too obvious to mention, but music production, engineering and recording begin with microphones. A suite of high-end, multifunctional mikes is often a standard by which professional studios are judged. It's also a major consideration in choosing a music production school, particularly for vocational programs and community colleges.

The science of audio recording was developed in research universities, laboratories, and technology and communications companies. This knowledge was refined, often by trial and error, by the producers and engineers who put the new technologies to work. Real experience is still a major component in learning about music production. It's true that digital software enables recording and mixing in a virtual space-but actual musicians and instruments, with the knobs and wires that go along with them, are very much a part of music production on a day-to-day basis.

Check, Five, Six. . . Music Production Degrees and Certificates

So, what exactly is required to earn a degree or a certificate in music production? This can and does differ somewhat from program to program. But here's a baseline of what to expect at the various levels of study in music production, from one-year certificates up through full bachelor's degrees and the master's degree programs that can follow.

Music Production Certificates

A music production certificate is not subject to any academic standards and is essentially a proof-of-study stamp of approval from an institution. Certificates can be used as stepping stones in building a professional resume and as a means of staying current in the field through continuing education. Certificates come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. For example, a general certificate from a community college or vocational school will likely indicate that the holder has spent a certain number of hours in the classroom and in the studio learning the basics of music production.

Music schools and art institutes often offer an array of certificates in specialty areas, which might include a specific platform like Pro Tools or Logic Pro, or a particular professional capacity like live sound or film/video audio engineering. Specializations could range from recording orchestras to guitars to electronic music production. Examples of courses in certificate programs are shown below.

  • MUSIC PRODUCTION ANALYSIS
    An overview of the elements of a successful audio recording, including how recording sessions are engineered and overseen by the music production professional.
  • PRO TOOLS
    An introduction to the Pro Tools digital recording and mixing platform and some of its uses and functionalities.
  • LIVE SOUND
    How to set up, mix and break down the equipment necessary in various venues. Examination of the challenges those venues might pose.

Music Production Associate Degrees

A typical associate degree in music production-usually Associate in Science- entails between 45 and 60 credit hours of coursework, which many students can complete in about two years. The associate degree is considered the baseline qualification for many jobs in music production, such as working in radio, television or in an institutional setting where a full-time audio specialist is needed.

Certain programs may have different choices for concentrations, but most associate degree programs are aimed at giving students a broad introduction to the various environments and capacities in which audio engineers and music production specialists work. While there can be elective courses open to students who have particular interests, the main goal is to impart the knowledge and skills necessary in any number of areas of music production.

  • DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATIONS
    The software and techniques used to record, edit, process and mix the elements of a complete audio recording.
  • AUDIOTRONICS
    How to properly set up, employ and maintain industry-standard digital recording hardware and software. Work with electronics could include wiring, soldering and manually testing audio equipment.
  • POSTPRODUCTION
    Recording and overdubbing dialogue, effects and other sonic embellishments on a final mix of an audio project.

Music Production Bachelor's Degrees

While some colleges and universities do offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in this field, Bachelor of Science degrees are far more common. BS degrees are intended to take four years of full-time studies, with at least 120 credit hours of coursework. Music production is the major, or primary focus, in a course of study that also includes general education requirements in areas such as the humanities, behavioral sciences and physical sciences. A baccalaureate program also offers students the opportunity to select a minor, or create a secondary focus in a discipline that might be helpful in professional life. However, the core coursework is in the area of music production and engineering, as well as music history and other related disciplines.

  • MIDI SYSTEMS
    Using Musical Instrument Digital Interface technology in conjunction with Pro Tools and Logic recording software to create and mix audio tracks.
  • MULTI-TRACK RECORDING TECHNIQUES
    Optimal practices for setting up live recording sessions, incorporating overdubbing and signal processing hardware, as well as microphone placement.
  • BUSINESS OF MUSIC PRODUCTION
    Setting up a private recording studio, marketing skills, branding and other considerations from the commercial side of the business.

Music Production Graduate Degrees

Master of Science degrees related to music production usually take the form of upper-level music technology credentials, and there are also Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs available in sound design and engineering. These programs can require two years of additional study beyond the bachelor's degree, a good deal of which is dedicated toward projects such as a master's thesis. An MS or MFA degree in music technology and/or sound design may be a prerequisite for academic work in the field or advanced professional roles, although it's not usually necessary to work in the realm of music production.

  • DIGITAL AUDIO PROCESSING
    In-depth study of the science of digital sound recording and processing.
  • SIGNAL THEORY
    Review of the mathematics of signal processing and algorithmic analysis of audio in musical applications.
  • MUSIC AND VIDEO
    Advanced uses of music in video production and in video game technologies.

No doctoral degree programs are dedicated to music production per se, but PhDs are available in areas related to music technology. These programs are rare, and they tend to focus on the most advanced theories and practices of signal processing in digital media, film scoring and multimedia production as well as interactive audio system technologies.

Music Production Toolbox/Checklist

Diverse career paths in music production can accommodate more than one personality type and skill set, but there are some basic strengths and foundational knowledge students should aim to cultivate.

  • Computer literacy:

    Music production is an almost fully digital field, particularly when it comes to audio files, recording, playback or almost any other phase of the game. Students should aim, at the very least, to be well versed in Pro Tools and Logic Pro, as well as comfortable navigating the online domain in general.

  • Communication Skills:

    Working in music production can involve describing the impact and effects of various sound techniques, or interpreting the artistic vision of a client. Oral, written and visual communication skills are important elements in the professional's toolbox.

  • Audio Engineering:

    Sophisticated audio equipment ranges from recording and playback devices to PA systems. Students need a body of technical knowledge that allows them to work confidently and competently whether they are installing, maintaining or operating such equipment.

  • Telecommunications:

    Digital media convergence has brought all areas of communication closer together. Music production has always played a big role in radio and television, and is expanding its presence in online media. Graduates should be at home in these environments and have a working knowledge of how these media operate on a fundamental level.

  • Business Acumen:

    Many music production professionals opt to work in an entrepreneurial context, either full time or in addition to a day job. These specialists understand not just the inner workings of the entertainment, music and sports businesses, but also the necessary skills to run a business, whether that be a home recording studio or a live song engineering operation.

  • Video Software:

    Increasingly, audio and video production happens in the same place, the software for these separate functions is designed to work in tandem and audio projects have a video component. It can be absolutely necessary to know the ins and outs of the video production process, and have some capability working with video creation and editing software assets like Final Cut Pro.

  • Internships:

    The Must-Have list above already stressed the vital role these opportunities play- but it's worth repeating. A music production school should offer the chance to work as an intern, learning the art and craft of audio engineering in the field.

  • Certifications:

    There are no licensure requirements in the field of music production and sound engineering. However, professional organizations offer various forms of certification-for example, the Society of Broadcast Engineers and InfoComm International have credentials for broadcast and sound engineering technicians. Faculty at music production schools may advise graduates on certifications that could be helpful in their area of interest.

Music production specialists may work on a team tasked with installing and running the sound equipment at a festival concert or handling the maintenance and day-to-day operations of a public address (PA) system in a sports arena. Or, the audio specialist may work largely alone, performing the involved technical task of mixing multi-tracked digital audio files for clients, some of whom might have volatile artistic temperaments. A solid training in fundamentals can serve in these jobs and others.

Music Production and Sound Design Specializations

Specialization is often a part of moving forward in music production careers. That might mean working in a particular area of sound engineering, like multi-track mixing or live studio recording. Or, it can entail going into a particular sector of the field, like the concert business, sports broadcasting or video production. Here are some other areas of emphasis:

Video Game Production

Working in the video game industry is probably a childhood dream for many people, and there are many different sound and music-related careers one can pursue. Audio workers, such as sound engineers, develop, record and process every sound within the game - music, dialogue and all the small unique sound effects that bring the game to life.

Electronic Music Production

While much music is still created the old fashioned way — by real live people playing instruments and singing — digital technology has evolved to a point where entire tracks can be conceived, created, mixed and mastered in a virtual workspace. This technology, and its many applications, are gaining interest as an area of specialization.

Audio Mastering

The final step in music production is called mastering, and it has been seen as a mysterious hidden realm. It involves a comprehensive knowledge of sound mixing and editing processes, as well as a finely tuned ear, because it rests on creating a final cut of an audio track that is ready for duplication and mass distribution.

Interview with a Music Production Professional

Jeff Wagoner graduated from Full Sail University with an Associate of Science degree in 2004 and now works as the full-time technical director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lynchburg, VA. This regional performing arts and education center has a wide range of programming: from an opera company in residence, to a rock, pop and folk concert series, to community and family oriented events.

What does your job at the Academy entail?

I'm responsible for running and maintaining all the sound and lighting equipment, as well as for building sets for different events and concerts, and for managing the production crew. We do everything from corporate functions and community productions to concerts by Grammy-winning artists like Marty Stuart and Lisa Marie Presley, and even comedians like Paula Poundstone. I also supervise the Opera on the James productions, which means I'm there to make sure that all the equipment is functioning as it should be for their production staff.

What does a typical day at the job look like?

I'm a full-time salaried employee, but it's not necessarily 9-5 every Monday through Friday. It depends on what's scheduled that week. It could be that you take a couple of weekdays off but work all weekend. It requires working a lot of holidays, weekends and nights. You have to be flexible, but it's also nice that it's not the same routine day in and day out, because there are no typical days. In some cases, it can come down to loading in a show in the morning, working the show that night and then tearing it down when it's over. That's the routine if you're working at a venue that has events every night, or with an artist who's performing all the time. I've got a big production about once a month here. If it's a theater group then they're usually in for a week or longer. So you might start your week on a Sunday or Monday morning, and it might end on the following Sunday night. And then you get a down week every once in a while, when you get to recover and clean up.

But, that's just your not-only-during-the-day day job, right?

Yes. I do freelance work on occasion, when time allows. Over the years I've acquired a lot of my own sound equipment, so I can do independent work for local bands and bars and restaurants, or small music festivals and area wine festivals when I have the time.

How did you find your way into a music production degree program?

I got into the technical side of music even before high school, and then really got into it doing high school theater. I then enrolled in a four-year program at Marshall and majored in theater. But I didn't really take to the program. I wasn't as studious as I probably should have been. Marshall had a great program, great facility and staff, but I didn't take advantage of my time there. So, I withdrew, took a job at a theme park and got more into concert production. I found out that that's really what I wanted to do, and that's what brought me to Full Sail.

What did you like about your music production training program?

They did a really good job of giving us a broad overview of music production. We did studio production and recording, but we also covered video production, live audio for sporting events and concerts, and lighting for a variety of different things. It was a great introduction to the sheer range of options, and it put you in a position to get an internship doing almost anything in the field. So, it was a good way to figure out what kind of work you wanted to do and then go out and get experience actually working in that area.

What are some of the coolest experiences you've had in music production?

They are all different. You may be doing a lot of the same stuff and working with the same equipment, but it's with different people. So it really comes down to that with me. Whether it's a musician, a band, a comedian or something stranger like a troupe of Chinese acrobats, there are different challenges that make it interesting.

What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field?

The piece of paper you get with a degree program is great, but you have to be willing to go out and find the work. If you just think it's going to be cool and easy, then you're in for a surprise. That said, there's definitely a creative side to it. But, there are also managerial responsibilities, and then there's a lot of technical know-how. The gear these days is getting pretty fancy, so you have to know how to work with it.

After Music Production School: What's Next

A certificate or degree from a music production school can open doors to many occupations in different settings, which makes it difficult to neatly encapsulate a typical trajectory.

If you prefer a mobile lifestyle on the road, traveling from venue to venue with a performer or a group, then live sound engineering is a viable choice. For the stability of a day job that incorporates the creativity of a music career, consider positions for studio engineers or sound system specialists at colleges, universities, large companies and institutions that rely on complex audio gear. Other options span the domains of broadcast media, multimedia online publishing, sports broadcasting, video game production and webcasting.

Finally, there's the entrepreneurial route, which could mean designing and installing advanced components or recording audio for commercial purposes. Also possible are engineering sessions- for musicians, film or advertising projects-or even commercial voice-overs. Whatever the career decision, these fields are technologically driven and always changing, so music production schools offer a way to stay current with the latest developments.

CareerMean yearly wageMean hourly wageEst. GrowthNo. EmployedMinimum Education
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians$58,670$28.219%121,400Postsecondary non-degree
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians$46,040$22.1314%60,200Postsecondary non-degree

Broadcast and Sound Engineers: operate, adjust, monitor, set up and take down audio equipment for broadcasts, live events, recording and more. Troubleshoot and resolve problems with complicated electronic equipment. Convert audio and visual files from one format to another.

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians: Work with computer sound or visual files, including compressing, digitizing, duplicating and storing. Perform repairs on equipment. Design layout of equipment, and move equipment around. Monitor feeds for sound and visual.

Advice From a Music Production Professional

Q: What advice would you give to someone who's looking into applying
to a music production school?

A: At a technical school, you want to look up what some of their alumni are doing. You want to figure out where they are and what they're doing. A lot of schools will mention their high-profile graduates, but not everyone is going to go out there and win a Grammy or a Tony Award. And, you might not get a job in the biggest cities. Which is fine. If there are graduates who are working in the field, at venues or on tours, then that's a good sign. So, you want to look past the huge success stories, and figure out what it's really like to work in the field.

Q: How about advice for those who are seriously considering a career in
music production?

A: It's the same advice I give to anyone going into anything. If you think you know what you want to do in the field, then that's where you should focus. But, if you're not sure, then you need to find a way to continue your education while you're getting out there and doing it. So, if you're interested in doing sound engineering, find a local band or a local artist and volunteer to do a couple of bar gigs for them. If you're good with coiling cable at two in the morning with a bunch of drunk people around you, then get a degree in live sound engineering. Or, find someone who's willing to give you an internship. Music production schools are expensive because the people they have there know what they're doing, and the gear they have is top notch. So, you're going to get the education. But, it's really important before you take that step to make sure that it's really something that you want to do.

(Video) Degree Overview: Music Production

Videos

1. Music Production School Online Degrees: 5 Important Things to Consider 🎓🎵💻
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2. Should You Go To College For Music Production in 2022? *Advice*
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3. 5 Reasons You SHOULD Attend a Music Production School
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4. Should You Go To College For Music Production?
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5. Music Production Degree Programmes at Point Blank
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