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Music producer

TwelfthmanTwelfthman Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member

While I don't have music talent myself, my son does and he wants to eventually try his hand as a music producer. He wants to study music composition and recording arts or music technology in college and round that out with a broad range of skills to help him become a music producer. What are the top 3-7 programs for those who want to become a music producer? Many thanks for your suggestions?

Replies to: Music producer

  • kmcmom13kmcmom13 Registered User Posts: 3,915 Senior Member
    edited October 2014
    Can you tell us a bit more about his experience to date?
    Eg. Does he study composition; can he write, or does he compose contemporary music by ear?
    What kind of recording/mixing experience does he have to date? Has he developed enough skill to record multiple instruments/stereo?
    What instruments does he play and what's his performance background?
    And what grade is he in/what are his stats like? Is he good at programming?

    Background to some degree make a difference in terms of best fits. My suggestions are based on my own son's prior investigation, so it will be limited to those top programs we looked at, which is not to say there aren't other avenues.

    For commercial production, check out NYU's Tisch school's Clive Davis Recording Arts (BFA). Personally, I'm not sure this particular program addresses composition as deeply as some, but it certainly focuses on production and business. Its a tough portfolio based admit.

    Indiana Jacob's school of musc as a recording arts productin degree (a BSc, not BM). Great program but no integrated emphasis on composition (you see a theme here ;) When we were looking, my son was very interested in access to composition as well.)

    University of Michigan SOM's program is a bit different than the foregoing in that there is an engineering stream and a composition stream -- the program is pretty wide and deep, if that makes sense. The department is called Performing Arts Technology and there are four curriculae ranging from performer with BMus degree, to composition and multimedia production (bfa) to engineering (bsc). Have a read at http://music.umich.edu/departments/pat/programs.htm

    My son chose that program for the hybrid fit of production and composition. Its a tough admit that requires the most detailed portfolio of them all (eg stereo production mix, written composition, performed composition, programming samples, performance on an instrument, etc.) Tippy top stats in math and science help.

    Other schools we looked but ultimately did not dig deeply into included Belmont Curb school for production (excellent program), USC's contemporary music program (another tippy top program), University of Miami Frost for Musc Engineering Technology and U Lowell Mass for recording/production.

    At the time I wasn't familiar with university of hartford's Hartt SOM music engineering.

    There's also a new program at university of Cincinnati' CCM for commercial music production that looks quite intriguing but didn't exist back when we were looking:

    Hope that helps give you some search fodder ;)

  • TwelfthmanTwelfthman Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    Thanks very much for the helpful information.

    He does compose contemporary music (his area of interest), works as an audio production assistant at a media lab, has his own DJ company and weekly radio show. He will submit some of his compositions as part of an application process. He can both write and compose by ear but he tends to do the latter. Is that an issue?

    He plays guitar and piano -- five years training in each -- and he likes to use synthesizer, equalizer, other equipment I don't know plus a computer and software.

    Thanks again. Very helpful!
  • kmcmom13kmcmom13 Registered User Posts: 3,915 Senior Member
    I asked those questions because sometimes on these threads its hard to tell what kind of background a poster brings to the table. In music production, some posters WANT to study it, but haven't yet studied it...so they'd not be good fits for the programs I mentioned, which all generally require a fairly sophisticated level of pre-college development.

    So being able to notate one's composition makes a difference at Umich, for example, but not necessarily Indianna, but the hands on recording experience would serve him well (and is requisite) at both. At Umich, the written composition is part of the portfolio, and is an obstacle for many "pop" musicians who don't read or write music. With 5 years of piano, I'm guessing your guy has some theory, ability to sight read, etc.

    In terms of "flavor," I am only truly familiar with U Mich since that's where my son attended. Based on your description of your son's activities it sounds to me like a good fit. I'd be worth including on your exploration list, but so would the others. I think he would more easily get composition at UMich than Indiana because at Umich, it's "baked in" to the degree itself, particularly in the stream they call "Curriculum B."

    At the same time, there's another "portfolio flavor" at Umich that may or may not suit your son -- producing an electronic instrumentation of a fugue.

    That one sometimes stymies kids who haven't had much classical background. The work coming out of PAT is in a wide range of genres, including popular. But lots of variety. And at some point, the kids WILL have composition profs with more western backgrounds (though many contemporary as well) and will face assignments such as a composition for string quartet, etc. that weights a little more to some western/classical experience.

    Indiana/Jacobs does not have the same kind of portfolio elements, which sometimes appeals more to "purely contemporary" producer types. Eg. A student there when mcson was sitting in on classes said that about half of the kids in the program had "classical/orchestra" backgrounds, and half of them didn't. The same student said he wished more of the kids had orchestra experience as it would makes some group projects and communication about same a little faster.

    Hope that gives you a sense of flavor, but of course, please take with a grain of salt and look at all options that resonate with your son. Visits are invaluable and its totally worth sitting in on classes to get a feel for the program. Its not always practical to do that at more than a handful (mcson did that with three) but it helps.

    Best wishes in your search!

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