For anyone that is passionate about being a music producer, you’ll have likely thought about studying at music production school before. Academic study could give you the chance to earn skills and a qualification. But how do you know if music production school is the right path to take? Having studied both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, I’ll share with you my thoughts on the different aspects of music production school. Hopefully this article will help you make the choice on whether a course in music production is right for you. Firstly, I should make it clear that I studied both my BA and MA in the UK. As such, my experiences are based wholly on the UK higher education system. However, to make this article useful to everyone, I will concentrate on the general aspects associated with music production school.
Guidance on music production school:
One big advantage of studying an academic course is the fact that lecturers will guide you through the process. Lecturers will be able to help you on a personal level and give you suggestions on further reading and research. This helps you to develop specific areas of interest and hone your skill set. You will also be following a tried and tested path of study. Studying in an academic setting guarantees that you are learning from good quality resources. This helps if you feel as though you’re not sure where to start learning the subject on your own.
Taking time to study music production:
Studying allows you the time you need to research and practice the art of music production. My bachelors degree gave me three years of concentrated music production study. This consisted of lectures and reading/researching independently. I was also able to spend time using high end recording facilities to put my research into practice. Studying a course means that you have a set time frame. This allows you to study the subject without having to find time to fit your study around other commitments.
The structure of music production school:
Leading straight on from the point above is the way that academia provides you with a structure. You will certainly be held to a schedule by your lecturers if you study an academic course. This is great if you’re not good at making time to research music production on your own. Studying a course is a great way to make sure that you carry out research as you’ll have deadlines to meet. However, if you’re not somebody who works well under pressure, then an academic course may not be the best option. Perhaps you’d prefer to work at your own pace without the threat of looming deadlines. If so, an alternative means of learning may be a better fit for you.
Financing music production school:
A large part of your decision will likely revolve around the cost incurred in studying a course. If you have a form of student loan available to you, this offers a means of entry into study. In some countries there are loans and bursaries in place. Elsewhere you may be liable to pay the full fee your self. Find out the exact type of funding that is available to you. Ultimately, in most cases, you will need to pay back the money that you borrow.
Be sure to investigate whether your chosen music production school offers a scholarship which might cover part of your fees. In some instances you may also be able to secure a stipend. This would provide you with money to live off over the course of your study. Its also worth asking charities in your area if they have any provision for educational funding. They may be able to make a small donation towards your study costs. Be aware however, that there will be a great deal of competition for any such financial backing. You will need to be prepared to prove that you are worthy of their investment.
Academia in music production:
Be aware that practical recording will not form the entirety of your study. It’s important to remember that a large proportion of your work will consist of things like academic writing or presentations. If this isn’t something that you are interested in, a better option may be to pursue a more practical route. This can be done independently through books, online content or even a studio internship or work experience placement. If however you do like the idea of essay writing and presenting, then studying is probably a great fit.
Qualifications from music production school:
Academia is likely your only option if you’re looking to gain a qualification. But remember, opportunities for employment in music are scarce and extremely competitive. Having a qualification will not necessarily guarantee you a job at the end of your study. At the same time however, a qualification should make you stand out from other applicants when you do apply for jobs.
So the answer is…
If I had to give an answer based on my experience, then I would say… Yes! Studying at music production school was definitely worth it for me! On my bachelor’s degree I gained an invaluable set of skills. I spent three years concentrating on these skills and becoming competent in the subject. On my master’s degree, I was able to spend a further two years honing those skills. I was also able to research and develop specific areas of interest in an in-depth way.
That said, academic study is not the right option for everyone…
There’s nothing wrong with developing your skills or pursuing the subject in different ways. Informal night classes, local youth schemes or one-to-one tuition from a local producer may all be available in your local area. Each of these may provide you with a more affordable option or may even be free. They may also provide to you the opportunity to study music production at your own pace without the pressure of deadlines. You’ll also be free of the need to carry out academic writing or presentations if these don’t appeal to you. Independent study allows you to fit music production in around other commitments, such as work.
Whatever route you choose, I wish you the very best in your journey towards becoming a music producer.
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