Music Technology Majors

A degree in music technology can open up career options in the recording, theater and film industry. Learn what the field focuses on, the only study process, common course topics and career prospects. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does Music Technology Entail?

Both academically and professionally, music technology encompasses all technical aspects of live or prerecorded musical productions or broadcasts. This may include anything from studio sound production to the engineering of special effects, lighting and sound for concerts or musical theater productions. A music technology bachelor's degree program will teach you how to execute all of these operations, in manual or digital format and for any musical environment.

Field Focus Production, recording engineering, concert and theater production
Online Options Yes, in related areas such as production engineering or music media; highly interactive
Common Courses Musical theory, instrumental harmony, stage lighting direction
Career Opportunities Recording, theater, film, broadcasting

How Do Online Programs Work?

While there are no online bachelor's degree programs available specifically in music technology, you can pursue a major in a related area, such as production engineering or music and visual media. These programs will teach you the majority of the same skills as the music technology programs discussed above; examples include production and editing techniques, ear training and digital recording. Online programs may be available only through for-profit institutions.

As a student in an online music technology-related bachelor's degree program, you'll attend all of your courses and submit all of your work virtually, generally through online teaching and learning platforms. These systems allow you to access all required course materials and communicate with teachers and fellow students using little more than a computer with an Internet connection. Because many courses require you to complete at-home recording or production projects, you may need to purchase software programs as ProTools.

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

As a music technology major, you'll gain an understanding of how musical instruments and production effects come together to create musical compositions. You'll also become educated in all of the technical functions necessary to produce these compositions. Special emphasis may be placed on the different mediums through which music is played and the unique technical functions of achieving optimal sound and production for each one. Examples of different musical formats include concerts, recording studios, radio and television, theatrical plays and multimedia websites.

Music technology degrees are generally conferred in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) format. If you're interested in a specific form of music technology, such as theater or multimedia, you may be able to find a bachelor's degree program in your area of interest with a concentration in technology or production. Regardless of the specific degree format, majoring in music technology will give you an applied and theoretical education in all areas discussed above.

Program curricula for music technology majors are often of a very hands-on nature. Many degree-granting institutions have on-campus recording studios or radio stations and require students to make use of these facilities either in class or for independent projects assigned in classes. Even in relevant online programs, you'll typically be required to complete several recording or composition projects, which you can submit as audio files to your school's online learning platform. Topics commonly covered in courses required for music technology majors may include the following:

  • Music theory
  • Foundations of acoustics
  • Electronic sound production
  • Stage lighting design
  • Broadcast production
  • Theatrical sound engineering
  • Multimedia production
  • Instrumental harmony
  • Digital production sequencing
  • Music technology and new media

What Are My Career Options?

As a graduate of a bachelor's degree program in music technology, you can pursue careers in the recording, theater, broadcasting, film or multimedia design industries. The Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) is a professional organization devoted to advancing the common interests of music and sound technicians (www.esta.org). According to its website, music technology professionals may specialize in theatrical sound engineering, digital audio recording, stage lighting and scenery, audio technology, musical production, special effects or multimedia audio. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth for audio and video technicians as companies of varying types begin to place more reliance on multimedia technology (www.bls.gov).

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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