Being a music producer requires a special set of skills, and enrolling in a music production study program is arguably the best way to acquire them.
Also, getting a degree in music production can undoubtedly improve your career prospects and provide you with valuable knowledge and experience.
So for today’s article, we rounded up the best music production schools in the US.
We will also explain what it really means to be a professional music producer and talk about different career options for music production students.
1. Berklee College of Music
When it comes to the best music schools, there’s one college that always stands out – Berklee College of Music.
Berklee is hands down one of the most widely known music colleges in the world, and it’s usually the first choice for ambitious musicians and producers.
Some of the programs you might be interested in are:
- Bachelor of Music in Independent Recording and Production
- Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering
- Minor in Recording and Production for Musicians
- Specialization in Audio Post-Production
- Specialization in Commercial Record Production
Regardless of what they choose, Berklee students get an opportunity to attend some of the best music production classes in Berklee’s state-of-the-art facilities.
And without a doubt, having a music production degree from Berklee gives you an edge over competitors.
To give you an idea of how successful they are, their alumni earned 310 Grammy Awards and other prestigious awards in the industry.
Besides the programs we listed above, Berklee College of Music offers online music production courses for graduate and undergraduate levels.
Berklee Online music production programs don’t require an application.
They also have courses online, see below!
Develop your creativity as a music producer. Learn the art and technology of music production to create professional music compositions.
2. NYU Steinhardt
NYU Steinhardt is one of the industry leaders in technology, teaching, and research.
And they have a reputation for being one of the top-performing music production schools.
They offer a variety of programs and degrees, from Bachelor of Music and Master of Music to Ph.D. in Music Technology.
Some of the music production courses they offer include:
- Audio engineering
- Multimedia production
- Software development for sound engineering
Besides attending first-class music production lessons, NYU Steinhardt students have the privilege of having access to top-notch recording studios, music publishing companies, jazz clubs, and theaters.
So it’s fair to say that NYU Steinhardt is regarded as one of the best music production schools for a good reason.
3. USC Thornton School of Music
Housed at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music is another top US music production school.
Thornton students have an opportunity to study with a stellar faculty.
The school is known for its interdisciplinary approach and well-structured Bachelor of Music in Music Production program.
They’re indeed one of the few schools that blends technology and art so well.
That said, USC Thornton School of Music is ideal for musicians interested in integrating digital music production with other industry disciplines such as composition, performing, and live recording of acoustic instruments.
4. Frost School of Music
Frost School of Music is housed at the University of Miami, and it’s arguably one of the best music production schools in that area.
They offer undergraduate programs, graduate degrees and certificates, online programs, and community & summer programs.
When it comes to their music production studies, undergraduate students can focus on traditional music studies and performance, history, and theory, while learning about mixing, signal processing, and recording.
Frost students also gain technical skills in areas such as computer science and electrical engineering.
5. American University
Located in Washington, D.C., American University is one of the country’s top universities for audio production.
It offers undergraduate programs and master’s degrees, including:
- MA Audio Technology
- BA Audio Production
- BS Audio Production
Their core courses revolve around topics such as sound synthesis, audio production, electronics, physics, and using digital audio workstations (DAW).
For example, some of the Audio Technology courses include Fundamentals of Audio Technology, Audio Mastering, Real-time Performance Workshop, and Critical Listening.
Finally, American University students have access to state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and they have a chance to learn from some of the best experts in the field.
6. SAE Institute
SAE Institute is also among the top music production schools in the US.
They have about 54 affiliated campuses in 21 countries worldwide.
In the US, they have locations in New York City, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Nashville.
Generally, SAE Institute provides education for different study levels, including bachelor, diploma, and associate degrees.
And they offer courses for students interested in starting their careers as audio engineers, sound editors, audio/visual technicians, game audio specialists, and so on.
Their programs are focused on practical, immersive training, creative collaboration, and learning in industry-relevant studio environments.
7. Full Sail University
Full Sail University is another top-notch music production school in the US.
They offer a wide range of courses in a variety of fields, including art and design, film and television, music and recording, business, games, technology, and sports.
And Full Sail University’s music and recording programs include:
- Audio Production Bachelor’s
- Music Production Bachelor’s
- Recording Arts Bachelor’s
- Show Production Bachelor’s
They offer both in-person and online classes.
Although their online music production courses are quite convenient for students interested in distance learning, their campus provides numerous modern recording environments.
8. Musicians Institute
Musicians Institute is located in Hollywood, and they offer a variety of campus and online programs.
Some of the relevant fields their studies cover include audio engineering, electronic music production, music composition, and studio recording.
They also offer an Independent Artist Program that provides students with the technical knowledge and professional skills they need to succeed as independent recording and performing artists.
And their curriculums include in-depth studies of both traditional and popular techniques.
9. Middle Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music production.
The university provides hands-on learning in world-class facilities.
After all, the university is located in Nashville, known as Music City.
Moreover, Billboard Magazine keeps listing the program as one of the top 10 U.S. schools for sound engineering and the music industry.
That said, Middle Tennessee State University is an excellent option for anyone seriously interested in pursuing a career in music production.
10. Drexel University
As a Drexel University student, you would have a chance to work at Drexel’s independent record label, Mad Dragon Records.
And practical, hands-on learning is one of the best ways to approach music production education.
Besides developing practical skills, their four-year undergraduate Music Industry program focuses on the business, management, and technology of the music industry.
The program is consistently ranked as one of the best music business schools in the country by Billboard Magazine.
That said, this popular US music school is ideal for anyone who wants to get broader knowledge about the music industry.
11. UMass Lowell
Located in Lowell, Massachusetts, UMass Lowell offers a highly-rated Sound Recording Technology program.
There are both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and students can also earn a combined Bachelors’s and Master’s degree in five years.
Alumni of the program have achieved high levels of success in a variety of industry segments.
So whether you’re interested in audio for film and television, audio system design, or audio education, UMass Lowell music studies will help you kickstart your career.
12. Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is another outstanding music school in the US.
It offers a Music and Technology Bachelor of Science program.
The program is created as a joint project between the School of Music, the School of Computer Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Courses cover a variety of audio and music-related topics, including recording technology, audio engineering, computer music, music composition, music performance, music theory, and Pro-Tools.
The university also offers a Master of Science in music and technology focused on composition or performance, computer music systems, and instrument design.
There’s even a class in musical robotics, where computers play electro-mechanical instruments.
That said, Carnegie Mellon University is undeniably one of the most modern schools for music production out there.
13. ICON Collective
If you’re looking for shorter programs in music production, you can check out ICON Collective.
Located in Los Angeles, ICON Collective is a nationally accredited college of music.
ICON is focused on teaching its students core technical skills while unlocking their unique creative process.
Their Music production program covers all levels of music production, from intro to advanced, and it includes mentorship and usage of Ableton Live and Pro Tools.
It lasts 3-18 months, 30 hours a week.
The program can also be completed online.
14. New York University
New York University is another top music production school located in New York.
Its Clive Davis Institute of Record Music is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their music production skills and learn how to balance creativity and entrepreneurship.
Students are also encouraged to develop innovative ideas, work collaboratively, and assume leadership roles in the art and commerce of creating and selling recorded music.
So, Clive Davis students are taught to develop business, creative, and intellectual skills necessary for their success in the field.
The Institute offers both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees.
15. Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)
If you want to enroll in a music production program, you can also check out Cuyahoga Community College.
Generally speaking, community colleges are much less expensive and usually take less time to complete.
And Cuyahoga Community College is one of the best-rated community colleges in the US.
Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the college offers the Recording Arts and Technology program that leads to a Certificate or an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Recording Arts and Technology.
The program includes broad-based training in recording and music production, on-location recording, live sound, and event production, and music business and audio electronics courses.
Classes are held in the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts, a world-class facility jointly managed with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What Do Music Producers Do?
As you can see, there are many great choices out there if you’re looking for a quality music production program.
The best music production university programs prepare their students for a variety of audio-related segments.
And that only means that music production students acquire a variety of skills.
So what do music producers actually do, and what does it take to become a music producer?
Generally, music production is the process of creating, recording, and fixing music before it can be distributed.
It’s a multi-stage process that usually includes:
So, music production is the process of creating a song from start to finish, and it involves the use of a variety of digital tools.
Music producers need to learn how to work with DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and learn everything about the necessary production equipment such as audio interface, microphone, plugins, and so on.
That said, being a music producer requires a lot of knowledge, patience, and an eye for detail.
However, there are different types of careers available to music producers.
As a producer, you can specialize in one or more areas, and you can get a job in different positions.
For instance, some producers work in A&R (Artist and Repertoire) at a record label and others work as music executives.
You can also become a freelance music producer and help singers, songwriters, and composers turn their ideas into music.
Some freelance music producers make money from streaming royalties or by selling their beats and samples.
And others offer to mix and master services.
It all depends on your specific goals and abilities; and if you don’t know what type of producer you want to become yet, there’s time to figure that out during your studies.
Either way, there are many things you can do as a professional music producer, and that’s why the best music production schools offer well-rounded curriculums focused on a variety of skills.
See also: How to Make Money as a Music Producer
Best Music Production Schools in the US – Final Thoughts
We hope our list of the best music production schools in the US provided you with some useful information.
All of the schools we mentioned today are widely known for their quality, and they offer well-structured curriculums that can prepare you for the role of a music producer.
So if your goal is to get a music production degree, any of these schools will ensure you an outstanding learning experience and significantly improve your career prospects.
You may also like: Best Online Music Production Courses
Develop your creativity as a music producer. Learn the art and technology of music production to create professional music compositions.