|Academy of Art University||California|
|Full Sail University||Florida|
|Point Blank Music School||California|
Did you know that 70% of Americans listen to music every day, with even higher percentages among younger generations? Did you also know that the music industry is growing at such a rapid pace, that revenue reached $51.5 billion dollars in 2018? Of this amount, $19.6 billion was generated in the U.S. alone. What this means for aspiring music producers is plenty of opportunities—especially in music centers such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, and Austin.
To compete in this growing industry though, you will need a degree from an accredited school. We’ve identified below several accredited schools that fit the bill. Besides accreditation, the top schools on our list are popular in both the academic and professional worlds, and they offer flexible delivery formats—including 100% online. The schools are listed in alphabetical order beginning with Academy of Art University.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 and it has been family owned since its beginnings. Serving more than 7,200 students, the school says it is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Academy of Art offers dozens of degree programs from Acting and Animation to Visual Development and Writing for Film, Television & Digital. Programs lead to a Certificate, AA, BA, BFA, MA or MFA.
Programs for aspiring music producers are offered through Academy of Art’s School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media. Options include AA and BFA degrees in Music Production. Per the school, “the Music Production degree programs at Academy of Art University teaches the “production skills that contribute to the overall presentation of any visual image.” This is accomplished through “hands-on, narrative-driven courses taught by professional musicians and sound designers.”
The AA in Music Production “provides students with a focused introduction to music production workflows, music creation software, virtual instruments, music editing, and industry standard practices in the creation of music for visual media. Emphasis is placed on both music creation and editing principles, with an emphasis on virtual instruments, as well as introducing recording principles and contemporary studio techniques.” Course highlights include:
- Audio Production
- Composition for the Artist
- Creative Perspectives in Sound Design
- Designing Careers
- Digital Audio Workstations
- Ear Training
- History of the Recording Industry
- Mixing: The Music Mix
- Music Editing for Visual Media
- Music Notation and Score Preparation
- Music Production
- Music Theory & Basic Notation
- Real Time Mixing
- Soundtrack Industry Overview
Students in the 66-unit program will also complete Seminar in the Arts and an optional internship.
Offering “more in depth study of principles introduced in the AA program,” the BFA in Music Production offers a “complete overview of the music production process,” along with instruction “the latest in music production software, as well as recording, editing, and mixing.”
In addition to many of the same courses for the AA program, students will take courses such as:
- Ableton Live Certification Preparation
- Experiencing Culture: Anthropology for Today’s Artist
- Genres in Film
- History of Gaming
- MIDI Orchestration
- Physics for Artists: Light, Sound and Motion
- Production Sound Recording
- Respect for Acting
- Sound Design for Film
- The Beatles in the Visual Arts
BFA students will complete a collaborative project, Internship in Music for Visual Media, and a demo reel in their final year, highlighting their best music production for visual media (animation, film, games, and web media).
As part of Academy of Art University, the Music Production programs (both onsite and online) are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The Academy is also accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) to offer Certificates and AA, BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees.
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Established in 1979 as Full Sail Productions, Full Sail University offers arts, entertainment, media and technology programs to 15,000 students across 210 acres of campus space, including 110+ studios and labs. Around 93 program options lead to an associate's, bachelor’s, or master's degree. Among these programs is a BS in Music Production that takes 29 months to complete, online.
Per the school, the program is “designed to provide a thorough and comprehensive understanding of music creation and production. After learning foundational concepts such as music theory and composition, you’ll explore an array of complex procedures and applications used in the music production industry.” Coursework ranges from digital audio principles and digital workstation technology to advanced audio production and engineering techniques. Course highlights for the program include:
- Audio Arts in the Entertainment and Media Industries
- Audio Engineering Techniques
- Audio Production for Media
- Audio Workstations
- Creative Presentation
- Fundamentals of Music
- Fundamentals of Music Business
- Game Music Composition
- History of Recorded Music
- Music Genres
- Popular Culture in Media
- Psychology of Play
- Recording Principles
- Sequencing Technologies
- Topics in Music Theory
Students will also complete seven “Project and Portfolio” courses worth three credits each including Project and Portfolio I: Audio Arts, and Project and Portfolio II-VII: Music Production.
These unique Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.”
The courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Point Blank Music School, Los Angeles, California
With locations in London, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai, Point Blank Music School is an “award-winning music production and DJ school,” that offers everything form single courses to an advanced degree. Programs are quality assured by Middlesex University and students receive a Middlesex award on successful completion. In addition to offering accredited courses and programs, Point Blank Music School is an Apple Authorized Training Center, an Ableton Certified Training Center, SSL Training Center, Native Instruments Training Center, and a Pro Tools Training Center.
The school also has its own in-house record label (Point Blank Recordings) and it regularly hosts guests that stop by to give masterclasses to students or to just to say “Hi.” Past guests have included Disclosure, Felix Da Housecat, Orbital, Basement Jaxx, Chemical Brothers, A Guy Called Gerald, Neneh Cherry, Louie Vega, Mark Ronson, and Goldie, to name a few.
Programs for aspiring music producers include a Certificate, Diploma, and a BA (Hons) in Music Production & Sound Engineering. The Certificate takes one year to complete and consists of six modules (two taken at once). The Diploma option is a two-year program that takes two years to complete and consists of 12 modules (two taken at once). The BA (HONS) is a three-year program that consists of 18 modules (two taken at once).
Courses for the programs are taught by “experienced music producers who have worked with artists including Sugababes, Armin Van Buuren, Rizzle Kicks, and Jamelia.” Sample courses for the BA program include Advanced Mixing, Advanced Sound Design, Art of Mixing, Audio for Games, Composing for Film and TV, Creative Audio (Logic), Creative Production and Remix, Electronic Music Performance, Mastering, Music Entrepreneur, Music Industry, Production Analysis, Record Deals and Branding, and Sound Design. Certificate and Diploma students will take some of the same courses, but fewer than the BA requires.
BA students will also complete a Production Portfolio during their final year. The final module allows seniors to concentrate on the area of music that interests them the most. Per the school, students will “be guided and supported by our industry professional instructors through weekly 1-2-1 sessions where you will focus and hone your project to a professional standard giving you a portfolio that demonstrates your skills as a graduate of Point Blank. The result will be “a substantial body of work” that will help graduates secure a position in the music industry.
“Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians.” Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, 02 Aug. 2018. Web. 04 Feb. 2019.
“Sound Engineering Technicians.” Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, 30 Mar. 2018. Web. 04 Feb. 2019.