Master degree programs in music production have both technical and artistic areas of concentration. Learn about educational prerequisites, courses of study and salary information for related education and recording careers.
Music Production degrees
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What Music Production Degrees Are Available at the Master’s Degree Level?
Master’s degree programs for music production come with several titles, but include similar information. Whether you’re in line for a Master of Music, a Master of Arts or Master of Science in music production or music technology, you are often tasked with choosing a concentration, such as production, technical or acoustical studies. Other potential options include education or composition. You may also be able to choose from thesis or non-thesis tracks.
|Degree Level||Master’s degree|
|Common Courses||Record analysis, music style, music structure, music history|
|Prerequisites||Bachelor’s degree and sample recordings are required; depending upon the institution, an entrance exam may be required|
|Possible Careers||Recording engineer, professor, assistant professor|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$52,390 (for Sound Engineering Technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||8% (for Sound Engineering Technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Classes Can I Take?
General courses cover the study of music structure and style as well as the analysis of recordings. In a music production track, you learn how to use mixing boards, microphones and other equipment in and outside of recording sessions. In an acoustical studies track, you learn about noise control as well as audiovisual and architectural design for best acoustics. The technical concentration discusses various approaches to recording, such as the use of MIDI. It also addresses historical and current technology and performance specifications.
In addition to classes, you may be asked to participate in a school-sponsored ensemble. You may be required to complete several terms gaining experience in a recording studio, using specific programs, software and hardware. Because of these experiential components, these degree programs are not typically offered online–although some schools do offer certain classes online.
What Are the Prerequisites?
You must have a bachelor’s degree to enter a master’s degree program for music production, but that degree does not have to be in music. You must have some background in music and submit a sample recording as part of your application. Universities and colleges may require that you complete an entrance exam for admission to the school of music in addition to general admissions requirements.
What Can I Do With This Degree?
Some programs state that they prepare students to teach in the field of recording technology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that to teach in a 2-year college setting, you must have a master’s degree; however, many 4-year colleges require a doctoral degree. PayScale.com notes that postsecondary teachers with a Master of Music earned $54,000 as of August 2019, while those working as a music director earned anywhere from $39,370 during the same time.
The BLS noted that to obtain employment as a recording engineer, the minimum education required is an associate’s degree (www.bls.gov). But it also states that an advanced degree may help you to better your chances for employment.