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What Degree Do You Need To Be A Music Producer

By David Krug 9 minute read

The Role of a Music Producer

Before diving into the various degree options, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics of the job. A music producer is a skilled individual who performs a wide range of creative and technical tasks in the process of recording, editing, and archiving musical compositions and performances. Musician’s goal is to bring the music to its fullest potential by manipulating each instrument’s frequency in order to achieve this. It is not acceptable, for example, for the guitars to overpower the vocals in a rock band recording. A producer’s responsibilities include scouting for musical inspiration, making song selections, hiring musicians, and providing in-studio instruction to the musicians and singers. Additionally, he or she is responsible for overseeing recording sessions, mixing multi-tracks, and ensuring the overall recording quality. Producers may also play a more general entrepreneurial role, handling things like budgets, timelines, contracts, and negotiations.

Typically, a music producer is an experienced arranger, composer, musician, or songwriter who can bring new ideas to a project. In addition, they revise the song’s composition and arrangement as necessary. The mixing engineer uses hardware and software tools to edit and modify the raw recorded tracks that the producer has selected and suggested. During this stage, all of the instruments and voices are combined into a stereo or surround sound “mix,” which is then fine-tuned by a mastering engineer.

Since the dawn of the new millennium, digital audio workstations (DAWs) have become increasingly popular. This means that in addition to songwriting and sound engineering, a record producer is now responsible for audio mastering. The need for a multi-instrumentalist producer who can do it all has risen as a result. Music producers who focus on vocals enable singers to perform to their fullest potential.

A music producer and an audio engineer may work together, with the audio engineer focusing more on the technical aspects of the mixing process. In addition, they use software to edit recordings and operate sound equipment. Besides placing mics and operating the soundboard, the engineer also has some say in the order in which songs appear on an album. Audio engineers and music producers may not be available to musicians on a tight budget.

Mixing and mastering engineers are other common credits that can be found on a vinyl or CD release. Using Equalizing, the individual instruments in a mix are brought together to produce the best possible sound. Compression, delay, fades, and reverb can all be used by the mixing engineer to achieve the desired sound. Chorus, saturation, phasers, and stereo wideners are effective tools for mastering small changes in volume and frequency. As a result, the mixing engineer is responsible for about 80% of the final product.

Final mixing and mastering are responsible for the remaining twenties of the final 20 percent. Additionally, these individuals use volume, equalization (EQ), and frequency response to make the recording sound more professional and distinct from the competition. A fresh set of ears that haven’t heard the tracks before can enter the production scene as it nears completion. Occasionally, they’ll catch a minuscule flaw in the mix that necessitates correction. Another function of the mastering engineer is to ensure that the songs on the album all fit together.

Pharrell Williams, better known by his stage name Pharrell, has produced music for Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Maroon 5 among others. Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) founder Jeff Lynne has produced or co-produced albums for a slew of notable musicians, including George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, and Bryan Adams.

Educating the Next Generation of Music Producers

The equivalent of a two-year college diploma

At the associate level, there are a number of options for aspiring music producers. Duluth, Georgia’s Atlanta Institute of Music and Media (AIMM) offers an Applied Associate of Science in Music Production and Audio for Media. Classroom instruction, video lessons, and live clinics, which often feature artists and music producers, are used to teach students about audio engineering.

Studio Acoustics, Music Theory, Electronic Music Production, Art of Mastering, Mixing Audio, Live Sound, and Advanced Music Production are a few of the AIMM courses available. Students who enroll in classes in an accelerated format can complete their degrees in as little as 18 months, two years, or two and a half years of full-time study.

60 credits – 20 months – make up the Associate of Science in Music Production program at the Los Angeles Film School. Digital Audio Workstations, Music Composition Programming, Advanced Music Production, Mixing Concepts & Techniques, and Digital Recording Principles are some of the courses. It includes a retina MacBook Pro loaded with software, such as Ableton Suite and ProTools, which can be used online. Headphones, a USB audio interface, and a Midi Keyboard are also given to students.

Students split their time between the music studio and the classroom when participating in campus programs that make extensive use of the facility. Students in associate degree programs typically learn the basics of music and how to mix technologies by comprehending analog and digital musical instruments and sound. It is not uncommon for professional musicians and recording artists to serve as instructors or guest lecturers.

Degree of Bachelor’s

In Winter Park, Florida, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music Production from Full Sail University, which offers classes both online and on-campus. There are three areas of emphasis in the program:

  • The study of digital audio workstations and their associated practices and concepts
  • Learn how to arrange both acoustic and electronic instruments in a musical composition.
  • Recording Principles: Learn about audio devices like microphones and mixers and how they work.

If you want to become an audio creator, Full Sail offers a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production. Music business, music production, and post-production techniques are covered in the course. Sampling, loops, MIDI, and live recording are all covered in this 29-month online course for aspiring music producers.

More than 75,000 students from 144 countries are currently enrolled in Berklee Online in Boston, which was founded in 2002. Recording engineer, music producer, mix engineer, live sound technician and mastering engineer are all jobs that graduates of their Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Production are qualified for. Microphone Techniques, Art of Mixing, Music Production Analysis, Sound Design, Music Video Editing, Audio Mastering Techniques, and Mixing with Pro Tools are some of the required and elective courses.

Future music producers can earn a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music from Liberty University’s School of Music in Lynchburg, Virginia. Using a biblical worldview, the professors teach the skills of recording, producing, and engineering. For example, students learn about the relationship between music and worship and the Biblical principles for artistic expression. Instruction in technical aspects of studio mixing (instruments and voice), digital audio workstations, console mixing, and sound system setup is included.

A quality album is mixed in the senior year of the Liberty program using your sound engineering and music production abilities. With a 141,000 square-foot Center for Music and Worship, it is ranked among the top 10 music schools in the United States.

Another option is to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Audio Production at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Sound design, production audio, sound editing, mixing, and live audio recording are just some of the skills taught at the school. At the school’s state-of-the-art studios, students learn theory and hands-on skills using the same equipment as professional studios.

The Northwest curriculum’s learning outcomes include:

  • The acoustics of indoor and outdoor music venues should be evaluated.
  • Mastering equipment
  • Create audio recordings of a high professional standard.
  • Extensive knowledge of sound characteristics and microphone positioning.

Employers in broadcasting, multimedia, the automotive industry, radio, and music production can use a Bachelor of Science in Audio Technology degree. An advanced recording program at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, offers 126 credits in analog and digital routing, wireless technologies, synthesis of audio sound technology, and musical instrument digital interface.

Calculus, physics, physics lab, differential equations, DC/AC circuits, and electronics are all available in the Lawrence curriculum. Classes in audio acoustics and sound application are also offered in the senior year.

The Master’s Degree

Master of Music in Music Production, Technology and Innovation is also offered by Berklee University, which was previously mentioned. Graduates will be able to do the following things:

  • Synthesize the studio’s various tools and techniques
  • Develop your skills in MIDI and audio production.
  • Create music with the aid of computers and other digital tools
  • Listen with an open mind and an open heart.
  • Produce synchronized video to the music.

Studying Live Music Production, Hybrid Recording Methods, Analog Synthesizer, Music Video Production, and Advanced Studio Performance will help students achieve the aforementioned goals.

Master of Science in Music Technology students at Temple University can expect a career as a recording artist, video game developer, or digital audio producer. Computer science, music performance, recording technology, math, and music studies are all part of the 31-credit program.

Small ensemble rehearsal rooms and computer music labs are available to students at various Temple facilities, including the Rock Hall. This hall is home to a Learning Center that includes teaching studios and recital rooms as well as a piano lab, recording equipment as well as loaner instruments for students to use.

Thirteen Visual Music Lab stations for multi-channel video production are available at Temple’s Boyer Recording Studio in Presser Hall.

AU in Washington, D.C.’s College of Arts and Sciences has graduate-level audio technology for students interested in working in the music industry. Audio engineering for CDs, film scoring and digital instrument design are some of the topics covered by the student in this program. The Drum Room, four isolation booths, and three control rooms are all included in this program.

Students at AU have the option of specializing in music recording, music production, or computer music thanks to collaborations with the departments of computer science and physics, as well as the School of Communication. This feature fosters networking opportunities by bringing in accomplished members of the music industry on a regular basis to serve as guest lecturers.

The Master in Sound Arts and Industries program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, teaches students the latest in sound theory, audio production, and editing. As part of the Interactive Sound Design track, students will learn how to create 360-degree soundscapes, as well as learn about commercial video game sound production and algorithmic music production.

An intensive one-year graduate program at Northwestern University is available to students interested in a variety of media, from television to video games. Radio monologues can be recorded in the 1,700 square foot Hobson/Lucas sound studio, which also houses an 18-piece orchestra. SoundTank also has a 12-station computer editing lab with 5.1 surround sound for blending and editing recordings. Last but not least, the Virtual Sound Room (ViSoR) is equipped with 16 microphones, 33 speakers, and four subwoofers to create audio games and dramas for people with hearing loss.


Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technicians are grouped together by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There was a median annual salary of $47,420 with on-the-job training in 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the course of the next decade, the workforce is expected to grow by 9 percent (above the national average) to 140,300. Many in the industry work for themselves, being called upon as needed by recording studios and musicians. As a result, finding a job that pays well and is stable may be difficult.

You’ll only find a limited number of job openings on Indeed and similar sites. As of August 2021, Netflix, SiriusXM, Apple, and ViacomCBS are some of the companies on the list. Interested parties should have extensive experience in the music industry and knowledge of music editing, songwriting, composition, and music production.

Another avenue for employment is through university music programs. When Shenandoah University advertised for a Production Manager of Music Facilities, they were looking for someone to oversee the production of concerts and recitals. Managers work with a variety of people in the music industry, including professors, conductors, and piano techs. Candidates should have a working knowledge of recording and music production technology.

There may be more job opportunities in the audio and film industries than in broadcasting in this highly competitive field. In addition, employers in this field prefer candidates with prior work experience. There are many opportunities to gain experience in the radio industry, such as working at a college or university radio station or volunteering at a local station. It’s critical to do your homework on the available job opportunities in music production before deciding to pursue one as a career.

David Krug