Music Production Major: Associate's & Bachelor's Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in music production? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and music production training programs.
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Studying Music Production: Degrees at a Glance

Music production professionals apply their understanding of music composition, audio and live sound to a wide range of positions in the entertainment industry. Specialists in the field possess musical talent, technical skills and a deep understanding of music theory. Graduates of degree programs pursue careers in production and direction, sound engineering and as musicians, to name a few. Career opportunities exist at theme parks, record labels, concerts, broadcast media and the film industry.

The associate's degree program can prepare you for entry-level positions in arranging, composing or recording technology. The bachelor's degree program delivers the foundation required to work as a music teacher or producer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that positions in the industry would see average job growth. Broadcast and sound engineering technicians could expect 10% job growth over the 2010-2020 decade. Producers and directors would see 11% growth.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People seeking entry-level positions in the entertainment industry People who wish to pursue a position in music production, teaching or management
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Broadcast and sound engineering technician ($42,000)*
- Musician or singer ($48,000)*
- Music directors and composers ($54,000)*
- Producers and directors ($92,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60 credits - Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Music Production

The associate's degree program provides the basic knowledge required for entry-level audio engineering and technical positions related to sound and music. Programs prepare students to configure audio equipment, master audio and integrate sound with motion pictures, to name a few activities. You will develop the technical skills required to operate industry-standard technologies, including synthesis equipment and music software. Some programs require that students take hands-on courses in a specific instrument. In addition, ear training and music performance courses are common.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Salary potential for musicians and singers has the potential to reach a competitive level
  • Programs deliver a broad range of knowledge through coursework in music technologies, which might transfer to positions in other industries
  • Your credits might transfer to a bachelor's degree program, should you decide to continue your education

Cons

  • Positions in the industry are experiencing average job growth of 10%*
  • Times of unemployment are common for musicians and singers
  • Competition for full-time positions in the industry will be keen

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree program delivers a strong foundation in music technologies, performance and history. Some schools provide a concentration in audio engineering or sound specialization. You will learn the foundations of the music business through courses in marketing and legal standards. Following are some common courses offered by the programs:

  • Digital audio
  • Sound recording
  • Acoustics and audio
  • Harmony
  • Audio production
  • Music editing
  • Music appreciation

Stand Out with This Degree

Training for musician or singer positions requires discipline to master the craft. Consequently, students should consider pursuing numerous opportunities to practice. Fellowships offer the opportunity to take additional lessons and to participate in performances. Pursuing certification for broadcast or sound engineering might improve your job prospects. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers a number of relevant certifications, including broadcast network and operator credentials. Taking advantage of internships in broadcast and sound engineering will provide hands-on experience.

Bachelor's in Music Production

The bachelor's degree program provides advanced courses and a number of concentrations. Schools design their programs to deliver project-based training in addition to traditional coursework. The program might expand your job prospects through courses in gaming and audio engineering for film and radio. Some programs require that students possess experience with a musical instrument or singing. You will gain theoretical knowledge of music and music technologies to prepare you for changes in the industry.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Media producers and directors earned competitive mean annual salaries of $92,000*
  • Programs provide advanced training on a range of topics, including instruments and composition
  • Composers are expected to be in demand in television and film

Cons

  • Associate's degree holders earned comparable salaries; musicians and singers earned a mean annual salary of $48,000 and music directors and composers earned $54,000*
  • Competition against highly talented performers and composers will present a challenge
  • Economic downturns can influence the availability of work for music directors and composers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program provides hands-on production training. Programs deliver a wide range of courses that prepare students for a career at the business and production levels. Keep in mind that the best hands-on experiences are delivered by schools that possess modern music recording and production facilities. You can expect to take courses in audio system design, sound design for animation, artist management, music composition, advanced sequencing, music composition and audio installation.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience plays a significant role in securing music direction and composition opportunities. Consider participating in as many productions and events as possible. Sharpening your skills and talent can help you enter the field; people with exceptional musical talents might do better than those who lack a high level of talent or inspiration. Consider participating in orchestras or other live performances, since the BLS projected growth in the number of people who will attend these events.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Music Production (Campus)
      • B.S. - Recording Arts
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • B.S. - Music Production
      • BS - Audio Production
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Human Communications
      • B.S. General Studies - Communication
      • B.S. Communications
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Humanities (Communication Studies)
  • San Marcos, TX

    Texas State University

  • Savannah, GA

    Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Ithaca, NY

    Ithaca College

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • BS - Music Production (Campus)
  • B.S. - Recording Arts
  • BS - Film (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • B.S. General Studies - Communication
  • B.S. Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Excelsior College

  • BA in Humanities (Communication Studies)

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