Music production is a burgeoning career niche in the music industry. An increasing number of institutions are also recognizing this. And, they are catering for this by holding anything from short courses to fully-fledged diplomas and degrees in the field.

It used to be (and still is to some extent) true that a good number of successful music producers are home-grown, with most of their formative training happening in-field.

That said, taking the academic path is proving more and more the gateway of choice for many budding music producers who want to turn their passion into a career and take that first big step towards becoming a successful music producer.

In this article, we’ll introduce a list of five programs to choose the music production school that suits you the best. Some of these also offer online music production courses.

We’ll also look at what to keep an eye out for when choosing a program and how studying music production at an academic institution will benefit you.

Knowing your limits and strengths as a student of music production

Knowing your limits in Music Production

Before proceeding any further, we need to address the elephant in the room – college courses are not cheap. As someone who’s ready to take on such a financially burdening task, it’s important to arm yourself with as much useful knowledge as possible that will place you in a good spot to make a sensible choice, and get your money and time’s worth.

It’s vital to know the answers to questions such as; which are the best schools for music production on offer, and among these, which are the ones that suit you the best; how to break down a music production course and ensure that all its constituent elements serve your career in one way or another; how practical are the courses that have piqued your interest, and do they segue into internships; and finally, what career opportunities will open up to you after graduation.

Make no mistake: a university or college course will give you several tools, a wealth of knowledge, and plenty of opportunities. But a career path such as music production is highly sought after. This raises the competive bar and implies that you’ll have to put in a lot of work.

What’s reassuring, however, is that there’s almost no doubt that someone choosing such a career path will do this as a passion project, which will make hard work lighter.

So, it’s wise to keep in mind that an academic course will give you a boost – or several – but it’s not the be-all-end-all for you to become a music producer.

What will give you the competition-beating edge is your passion, drive, discipline, work ethic, and ability to absorb knowledge and play it to your advantage.

One more asset in your corner if you can demonstrate that you’re ahead of the competitive curve is that there’s no lack of scholarships and financial aid initiatives out there. Definitely, something worth exploring further.

With this reality check out of the way, we can start looking at some of the best schools for music production.

What to look for in a program

What to look for in a program Student Laptop

Many comprehensive music production programs will assist you in building your knowledge in the field from the ground up. They will share certain courses across the board, giving you foundational knowledge that you will require regardless of what your musical leanings or career aspirations are.

Then, as you look in depth at different music production schools, you’ll want to choose the ones that specialize in your field of choice. If you plan to specialize in electronic music production, there are likely to be quite a few diverging points in your chosen area of expertise when compared to, say, a blues or alternative rock music producer.

But before looking at the differences, let’s look at commonalities. Here’s a basic list of courses you’re bound to encounter repeatedly when scouring the internet for the best music production programs:


As self-evident as it sounds, studying the nuts and bolts and getting your hands dirty with production techniques, tasks, and projects is fundamental to any college program on music production.

Once again, this will most likely vary from one college to the next. Some colleges have classes dedicated to learning how to use a specific DAW or music production software. For instance, Berklee College of Music offers classes that set you on the path to mastering Reason, among other popular music production software.

Full Sail University prides itself on taking its students through a series of practical and creative projects. You’ll start simple but broad in the first year and by the last year, you’ll take on more complex and specialized ones.

Regardless of what the approach and areas of focus, all classes within a solid program will provide you with building blocks to build up and round out your applicable knowledge in music production.

Music Recording

As a music producer with a creative vision for a project, the next step after dreaming up a piece is bringing it to life and recording it. This is why just about any respectable music production program will dedicate courses or aspects of them to learning the technologies and techniques of recording, both in professional and home recording studios.

Like every other element of music production, the weight recording carries in any given program will vary across different colleges. Depending on how much hands-on you plan to have in the process of making music, you’ll want to choose your program accordingly.

The same can be said for the next aspect…

Music Engineering and Mixing

Music production, recording, and music engineering and mixing are separate things and require different studies. But we can compare most great music producers to orchestra conductors or film directors, in the sense that they have a comprehensive view of all the moving parts within the process in the studio.

It might take a lifetime to master all the different disciplines that go into the making of a song or an album. But it will benefit you immensely to dabble in the areas such as vocals and instrument performance, song writing, music theory, mastering, mixing, sound engineering, as well as the music business side of the music industry.

And since creative music producers work hand-in-hand with sound engineers and often closely oversee their activities, as a bare minimum, they’ll need to speak the same language. This is why the best music production programs either offer stand-alone courses in mixing and audio engineering or work elements of them into other courses or projects.

Music Recording Technology

Technology is as pervasive in music as it is elusive a term. What do we mean by music technology?

Are we only talking about your go-to DAW or the staple one in the pro recording studios where you’ll be operating such as Reason?

Are we talking about hardware such as audio interfaces, mixers, MIDI, studio monitors, etc.?

Are we talking about mics and optimal mic-ing techniques?

Or are we talking about amps, cabinets, PAs, etc.?

Or, are we talking about sampling and all the rules and regulations that draw the line between what’s copyright infringement and what’s not?

What’s more, it always feels like we’re playing catch-up with the latest technological updates and there’s no limit to how much technology is impacting music production and the industry in general.

Let’s not even start to talk about the recent and ongoing progress covered in A.I, with the introduction of tools that can synthesize and compose entire songs in genres and styles of choice.

This is why any music production program can only hope to stay in lockstep with the trends of its time by updating its syllabus with courses that cover one or several aspects of music technology.


For the novice, acoustics might not seem so consequential in the recording process. But any seasoned veteran will tell you otherwise. While it’s not an integral element to the writing and performing process itself, it certainly bears a lot of importance as an external factor that defines the final sound production.

Just like with every other discipline we’ve mentioned so far, acoustics can quickly become a highly technical and intricate process that requires dedicated study and interminable hours of trial and error. It’s an entire discipline in itself.

Understanding how the room impacts sound, the positioning and choice of studio monitors, the use of different headphones, the optimal use of a voice recording booth, and most famously, mic-ing techniques.

These just provide a high-level overview of what you’ll be encountering during your acoustic studies.

Untold Perks of Studying Music at a Major College

There’s more to a good music production college program than learning the theoretical and practical points. There are other advantages that are usually left, by and large, unsung.

Networking with Pros

One significantly important asset not to be overlooked is networking. Simply by dint of the fact that you’ll be in constant contact with professors with experience in the field and other staff, as well as other students, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to extend your network.

And during your studies, you can expect to join clinics and workshops held by guests who’ve carved their own space in the pro industry. By being at your top game, you can gain some of the people’s favor and get referred for future projects.

Optimal Locations

Continuing on the note of networking, most major music colleges are located in or close to the heart of the music industry. This will give you plenty of chance to hanging out at venues with live music, extending your network further, and perhaps landing internships or even job deals after your studies are over.

Growth Mindset

A good teacher will teach you the subject. A great mentor will teach you how to embrace a growth mindset and a love for learning that will continue throughout your whole life; not just up till graduation.

You can never really rest on your laurels. The tendency is for freshly graduated students to feel like they’re on top of the world because of all the hard work they’d have put into their studies.

But the truth is knowledge is only as useful as its application in the real world. And, a lot of that is going to come to you after you graduate and you enter the industry. You’ll gradually find out what works for you and what you can discard, while learning new things on the job.

In college, you’ll bask in an environment that is conducive to this growth, and you’re very likely to meet mentors who will inspire you in that way. So, stay humble and stay hungry. Never stop learning.


Top College Programs for Music Producers

While different institutions will offer programs that might range from short courses all the way to Masters’ degrees (to date, there are no Doctorate in the field), here, we’ll be focusing on the Degree programs.

The accreditations awarded at the end of any of these courses may be Bachelor of Music (B.M), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A), if the course is more focused on music and practice. Meanwhile, courses more focused on technology may certify you as a Bachelor of Science.

Here’s our list of most highly recommended schools:

Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music – with its main campus in New York and a second one in Valencia, Spain (also now offering a variety of online courses) – is one of the biggest music institutions the world over. They also own the New York-based Power Station

Taking up their Music Production Degree will award you with a Bachelor of Arts upon completion. You can also pursue your studies further to earn a Master of Music in Music Production.

The faculty is truly cream of the crop. And they will guide you along your educational path as you’ll learn multitrack recording, overdubbing, editing, and mixing music in any of a slew of styles and genres, while making use of complex types of digital audio workstation such as Reason.

You’ll walk away from Berklee well-equipped to kick off a career as a music producer, recording engineer, mix engineer, mastering engineer, live sound engineer, sound technician, and more.

The cost for tuition per year is $54,540 for a 2-year program (other fees such as an enrolment fee, one-time comprehensive fee, books and/or software, and personal and living expenses, are not included). An more economical alternative to studying on campus is the online course, which will cost you $60,600 for the entire course (120 credits).

Full Sail University

Full Sail University only opened its doors in 1979 and has quickly worked its way up as one of the most renowned institutions offering performing arts programs in the U.S. Taking up your studies in Music Production will garner you a Bachelor of Science. You can complete this either on site in 20 months or online over a period of 29 months.

In any case, you’ll be studying in a highly professional environment geared towards prepping you for a kickstarting your pro career.

The program offers credits that give you different perspectives on music creation and production. Apart from theory and composition, you’ll get your hands on the school’s array of complex procedures and applications tried and tested in the industry.

Coursework includes digital audio principles, digital workstation technology, advanced audio production and audio engineering techniques.

The entire catalog includes 120 credits and the costs, at the time of writing, is $86,000.

Musicians Institute

Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music – often shortened simply to M.I. – is based in Hollywood, and is known for having an impressive faculty and notable alumni list. Its main music production program is ideal for students who want to want to get in the business of musical soundtrack production for visual media including film production, television, animation as well as game audio production.

It covers both modern and traditional compositional techniques and theory as applicable within the context of contemporary media.

This program costs between $81,000 and $89,100 depending on whether you do it online or onsite.

Apart from this program, there are other ones of interest, such as a the Artist Producer Entrepreneur, which goes beyond the nuts and bolts of production; it also gives you training in developing visual imagery and social media branding. It’s a true and full package for the aspiring artist who envisions him/herself as a one-wo/man-band.

This program costs $35,400 on-site and $29,400 online

For those aspiring to carve out a career in electronic music production, there’s also a dedicated program for this. This one looks at the latest trends in the electronic production music industry and provides several connections. You’ll be training in areas such as musicianship, keyboards, vocal production concepts, track building, sound design and synthesis, beat-making, plugin processing, as well as mixing and mastering.

Whether you want to produce your own music or that of others, or if you want to tour the world as a DJ, this program is a solid entry in our list.

Tuition for this program varies between $14,700 and $17,700, depending on whether you choose to do join the online school or study on site.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University offers a Music and Technology Bachelor’s Degree of Science program that brings together its School of Music, School of Computer Science and its Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. This joint project is a highly technical and strongly interdisciplinary exploration into the future of the music industry.

Students learn by benefitting from a choice among classes in recording session technology, classes for audio engineers, computer music, music composition, music performance, and theory.

Students interested in a career in music production – with an emphasis on music technology – will walk away, not only well-versed in music production and composition, but also in computer science and electrical engineering.

This program is one of the most costly on our list, coming in at around $75,000 per year.

SAE Institute

SAE Institute has a selection of campuses in the U.S and worldwide. Its main degree is the Audio Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science (offered exclusively in Nashville). With a lot of hands-on experience, you’ll learn how to confidently navigate your way in the studio environment.

The program covers areas including studio production, mastering, sound design, game audio, projection mapping, and creative coding. Apart from giving comprehensive training in theory and technique, they also offer a lifetime access to their career services support. Tuition costs $35,252.

For something slightly shorter, you can opt for their Audio Diploma, spanning 12 months, and focusing mainly on sound engineering. It’s mainly taught through a series of hands-on project-based courses. This one’s on offer in Atlanta, Chicago, and Nashville. Tuition costs $24,933.

Music production program options other than college

As mentioned earlier, music production schools or taking a music production course at academic level might be out of reach for some. And for others, it might just not be a right fit. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative ways to learn how to produce music.


Specialized online digital course libraries such as Soundfly offer a wealth on the topic. With courses starting at $649, you can customize your learning path, while being mentored by professionals. Apart from learning various production techniques, you can round out your skills by taking classes in music theory, performance, songwriting, music business, music marketing, and many more areas.


Masterclass is a website that brings together top talent in different fields all together on one site. There two music production courses – offered by none else that Timbaland and Deadmau5.

Timbaland’s masterclass course focuses on his process of creating hip hop, starting from the ground up with beat making. This course focuses less technical skills and more on inspirational and artistic aspects as you’ll gain a lot of insight by one of the authorities in the field, while getting your hands-on with exercises that allow you to emulate his process.

Deadmau5, on the other hand, takes you deep into his process of creating melodies and structuring songs and arrangements, mixing, and mastering electronic music in his masterclass course. He also goes beyond the creative process by offering insight on how to get your career going and navigate the music business.


Udemy, one of the biggest and most successful digital course libraries on just about any topic imaginable, offers Producing Music with Reason. Pitched at a beginner to intermediate level, this course will run you through the music production process using Reason by looking at theoretical presentations, demos, screencasts, activities, while also imparting invaluable tips and tricks.


Music Production Specialization is a 4-part course designed by Berklee College of Music and available through Coursera. It focuses mainly on the art and technology to help you foster your music production skills. It’s reasonably priced at $39 a month, and taking an average of three hours a week, it takes around 5 months to complete.


One of Skillshare’s top music production courses is Blueprint to Beatmaking. With Skillshare’s membership set at $8 a month, you can pick this top-selling course to learn music production for Hip Hop in just over three hours. It’s a flexible and affordable entry point into learning beat making.



An increase in the consumption of media and entertainment has paved the way for career opportunities for music producers to flourish. As we’ve seen, many academic institutions as well as online educational platforms have been taking note and are quickly catering for this niche.

The price point of becoming music students at academic level is certainly a prohibiting factor for some. But there are opportunities for financial, and if you can take advantage of this, studying music production professionally will help you build the foundation for a future career that will place you ahead of the competition.

This is not only because you’ll be learning technical aspects and theoretical concepts, but because of all the other opportunities such as networking and fostering mindset music production colleges foster.

So, whether you’ve already established what direction you want to take your music production career in or you’re still on the fence, a highly accredited school will help you develop a solid foundation while putting you in proximity of industry professionals, all of which will give you more direction in your decisions. As a music producer at his or her first ropes, you’ll walk away industry-proof.


Are music production schools worth it?

Yes. Any highly-accredited school is worth studying music production at. You’ll learn an abundance of theory and techniques, while applying your knowledge through hands-on projects. You’ll also have access to great networking opportunities, industry professionals, professional environments, and even internships.


Do most music producers go to college?

Studying music production at college might not be a necessity yet. However, there’s an increase in popularity for this career choice, which means increased competition.

Professional companies with a high level are starting to require music producers with degrees, and who have studied in a professional and thorough environment.


What are some good ways to learn music production online?

Digital course platforms such as Soundfly, Masterclass, Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare all offer courses relevant for whoever wants to learn music production.


Which are some of the best schools to study music production?

Three of the top schools for studying music production include Berklee, Music Institute, and Full Sail University.