Is Music Production School/Degree Worth It Today?

If you want to know if a music production school/degree is worth it, then this article can help you. This article will explain what you’re most likely to learn from music production school and whether getting a degree in music production is worth it in today’s age. 

This article explores the Pros and Cons of music production school/degree, which music industry roles require a degree, the value of a music production degree, the content most courses will cover, and whether all these things can help you progress within the music industry. 

What will you learn

Although it varies from school to school, the content you will learn is essentially the same no matter where you choose to study. Almost all music production courses will most likely cover these topics. 
Composition
• Creative audio
• Sound design
• Mixing
• Mastering
• The music industry
• Composing for film/tv
• Remixing
• Record deals
• Branding
• Performing
• Production Portfolio
• Audio for games
These topics will vary from school to school, and you’ll most likely cover less music-related topics and more academic topics like academic writing, presentation skills, referencing, and so on. Now that you know what you’ll be learning, you must figure out whether these topics/courses are important to your music production journey.
 
Keep in mind that you can learn all these topics from other free/cheaper resources like YouTube, books, and other online sources, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’d prefer to spend your time looking for this free/cheaper information or whether you’d rather go to a music production school and always have reliable information all at your disposal.

The different types of studying 

There are three main ways you can study for a music production degree, Full-Time, part-time, and online/Remote.

  • Full-Time Learning
    Full-time studying involves attending your university/college or school at least three times a week in person (It can vary, but this is the average). Here you will have lectures, lessons, and practical lessons. You will also most likely have access to the campus library, facilities, and studios anytime during the week. These courses are often done by people who live on or near campus and have no other major commitments like working full time.
  • Part-Time Learning
    Part-time studying involves attending your university/college or school at least once a week in person (It can vary, but this is the average), and you will also have online lectures and lessons. These may be live or pre-recorded. Despite only attending part-time, you will most likely have access to the campus library, facilities, and studios at any point during the week. These types of courses are often done by people who live near campus and have some other commitments like working full/part-time and don’t want to have to commit to attending in person more than once a week.
  • Online/Remote Learning
    Online/Remote studying involves only ever attending lectures and lessons completely online; some people may never go on campus through their 3–4 year courses. The online classes are often live to allow people to take part and ask questions in real-time and are recorded so people who can’t attend can still access the classes. In some cases, you may still be able to access the campus facilities, but this is not guaranteed. These types of courses are often done by people who live in a different country or far away from the campus and have commitments like working full and don’t want to have to commit to attending in person. These courses are the most flexible as you can watch the classes and access the content and any time throughout the day. Although some people may struggle with the lack of in-person teaching. 

How a degree can help your career

The value of a degree is always changing, with some employers holding it in high regard and others who aren’t as concerned about whether you have a degree or not. What type of role you want to pursue can also affect how much a degree is worth to you. 
 
Firstly, you need to identify what career path you can ideally see yourself doing as this affect how useful a degree is to you. There are many different routes you can take, but within the idea of being a music producer, there are two main routes, the self-employed route and the employment route. No matter what path you choose, your degree will always be helpful; however, in some cases, it’s a lot more helpful than others. 

Self-Employment

If you want to become a full-time self-employed beat maker/producer, then a degree may not be as useful to you as you think. Sure, you will get loads of key information and experience and learn many skills you wouldn’t have known beforehand, but the degree itself isn’t as important as you think.
 
Becoming a full-time beatmaker/producer is very different from most other music industry roles and can be much more challenging. You will most likely be self-employed, and you don’t need a degree to score high-paying work as a beat maker/ producer. A lot of your work will come from networking with potential clients and artists, most of which will not care if you have a degree or not. As a beat maker and producer, your portfolio matters most; a library of previous work and the quality of said work is the most crucial aspect of becoming successful in this role. 
 
A degree can help you master your skills and produce better music, but you can learn how to improve your skills and music elsewhere for a lot cheaper. In most cases, a degree costs a lot of money, and for a beat maker and producer, your money could be spent better elsewhere, like getting some high-quality gear, professional marketing, or some top-end plugins that can truly change the quality of your tracks. 

Employment

If your goals are to work in a state-of-the-art studio or for a big label as an in-house producer or mixing/mastering engineer, then a degree can help you secure work. In addition, most top-end studios look for people with many years of experience or a degree in music, so this can give you an edge over your counterparts.
 
Within these roles, employers look for people with high skill levels and great knowledge of their specific roles. In most cases working in a professional studio will require a degree of some sort. Employers favor applicants with degrees in many cases as it ensures a certain level of maturity, good academic writing skills, great knowledge of the role, and determination. Most degrees take 3-4 years to complete, showing employers that you are dedicated, disciplined, and genuinely passionate about the role. 
 
It’s important to note that a degree never guarantees you a job; it only helps you get a foot in the door. But a degree of any sort can give you an edge over others who don’t have a degree. So even if you get a music production degree and decide to go down a completely different career path later in life, your degree can help your secure work as it shows dedication, maturity, and greater learning skills. 

Career paths that do and don’t require a degree

Career paths that do and don’t require a degree greatly depend on each employer/client, so this isn’t a definitive answer. However, in most cases, these are a few of the career paths that require a degree.
Music Therapist
• Sound Engineer
• Sound Designer
• Sound Technician
• Music Production Teacher
• Music Production Lecturer
• In-house Engineer
In most cases, these are a few career paths that don’t require a degree.
Music Producer
• Beat Maker
• Self-Employed Mix Engineer
• Self-employed Master Engineer
 
These are not 100% accurate as it’s all down to the employers and whether you choose to work as a freelancing/self-employed music producer.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Learning valuable and reliable information
    The information provided is guaranteed to be the best of the best, unlike other cheaper/free sources like YouTube.
  • Learning new skills
    You will learn a wide array of skills and new techniques.
  • Learning the industry
    You’ll learn how the industry works and how you can succeed within it.
  • Creating a professional portfolio
    You will be shown how to create a professional portfolio to help you get work.
  • Learning professional writing skills
    You will learn how to read and write professionally, which will be expected from higher-paying clients.
  • Learning how to present yourself as a musician
    You will learn how to present yourself, whether in an interview or in general day-to-day life.
  • Being able to have one on one talks with music professionals
    You will have the opportunity to talk to your teachers/professors.
  • Meeting like minding people
    You will get the chance to meet other like-minded individuals, and this can help you make contacts within the music industry
  • Student discounts
    Although this may not seem useful given the costs of the degree itself, you will benefit from student discounts, especially on plugins and other software.
  • The degree
    A degree is very useful and can help you secure jobs and be taken more seriously.

Cons

  • Expensive
    Even if you can get a student loan, getting a degree is very expensive. Most courses range from $4000 to $15000 per year.
  • Time-consuming
    You will spend a lot of time completing work and learning content to complete your degree; not only that, but most degrees range from 3-4 years, although there are faster options available.
  • Difficult
    Getting a degree is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time, patience, and skill.
  • Similar information elsewhere
    There are other online and in-person sources where you can learn the same information and skills that your degree will give you for a lower price or even for free.
  • Getting a degree is not guaranteed
    It’s not guaranteed you will obtain your degree, although it’s very uncommon that people can eventually fail the course if they fall behind on the coursework or just struggle to understand the content.
  • Work is not guaranteed
    Many people think employers will be all over them once they have a degree, offering jobs, but this is simply not the case. A degree only helps you when applying for jobs; it doesn’t guarantee the job.

Common Questions

  • Is music production a good career path?
    A music production career has its ups and downs, but overall, it’s a great career path. If you have a genuine passion for creating music, you should consider a career in music production.
  • What do music producers do?
    The term music producer means many things in today’s age. Beatmakers, sound designers, sound engineers, and many other roles have been generalized as music producers.
  • What career path can music producers take?
    Beat Makers, Producer For TV/Film, Audio Technician, Mix Engineer, and Sound Designer are among the many career paths music producers can take.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a music production degree is worth it for most music producers today. A degree is crucial for gaining employment within the music industry, and the skills you learn are essential. Having a degree also shows potential employers and clients that you are dedicated and hardworking, which can help you secure work within the industry. However, it’s important to note that in no way is it the only route you can take to succeed as a music producer. It does come down to personal preference. 
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