Music Editor Career and Education Requirements

Find out the daily tasks performed by a music editor as well as where these professionals work. Get information about common courses offered in degree programs along with advanced training options. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

The title of 'music editor' most often refers to a very specific position within the film and television industry. As a music editor, you will select and edit the songs and pieces of music that are used in a film's soundtrack. Several educational programs in the music field might be able to prepare you for a career as a music editor. Often, gaining experience in a lower-level position is the best way to build a career as a music editor.

Degrees Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degrees (certificate programs are also available)
Courses Composition, Music Production, Music Engineering, Recording, Music Theory, Digital Music Production
Experience Assistant Editor, Sound Engineering Technician, Sound Editor

What Does a Career in Music Editing Involve?

Music editors are responsible for the music and soundtracks in films. They often collaborate with a film's composer and director to select this music. This position is different from that of a sound editor, who syncs the dialogue and sound effects within a film or television program; or a sound mixer, who adjusts overall audio within these projects. However, the educational requirements for all of these positions can be similar, mostly because the role of a music editor is so specific and limited that no degrees exist to cater to this exact career choice.

What Educational Programs Can Prepare Me for this Career?

You might enroll in a program in composition, music production, film scoring, music engineering or a similar subject. You will likely want to enroll in a program that covers traditional musical theory as well as modern music technology.

Many program options exist under a variety of degree titles. For example, you might pursue a Certificate in Audio Production or an Associate in Applied Science in Sound Recording and Music Technology. Additionally, you could enroll in a Bachelor of Fine Art in Cinema Art and Science or a Bachelor of Art in Filmmaking with relevant curricula for your education to become a music editor.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most editors in the film industry tend to have at least a bachelor's degree. However, it is possible to become a music editor by earning just an associate's degree or certificate in audio technology and then advancing up the editorial ranks.

What About Advanced Programs?

You could also study to become a music editor through graduate degree programs in related fields, such as film or music production. Some options may include a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema Directing or Creative Producing. An Advanced Professional Certificate in Music Production Technology or Writing and Producing Music is another graduate-level option.

What Courses Might I Take?

The courses offered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in music technology, audio production or a similar subject should cover introductory music theory while also providing hands-on training in music technology. Some specific courses you might take include the following:

  • Audio production
  • Music history
  • Composition
  • Multi-track recording
  • Studio techniques
  • Sound mastering, sampling and mixing
  • Soundtrack design
  • ProTools
  • Critical listening
  • Electronic music and game audio

What Additional Training Might I Need?

According to the BLS, aspiring editors in the film industry tend to need a lot of professional experience before they can obtain such a position. You can gain experience by working as an assistant editor or by interning on the post-production side of a film or television show. You might also start out as a sound engineering technician or sound editor and then advance from there. Once you gain experience and training, you can move up to a position as a music editor.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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