Music Production and Engineering: The Bridge Between Artist and Listener
It Ends with the Engineer
Since the recording industry’s humble beginnings in the 1930’s, the way we experience music has undergone several world-changing revolutions.
Transitioning from mono to stereo - and back - and The Who’s “Quadraphonic Sound” experimentation with their seminal release Tommy were revolutions brought on by engineers and producers.
Without music producers and music engineers, we’d still be listening to music only live. And, live concerts would not be the life-changing experiences they are today.
Production and Engineering
The Different Roles in Music Production and Music Engineering
Music engineers and music producers help artists realize their visions beyond their own expectations. The fruits of their labors are the sum total of all recorded music, made in cutting edge studios and apartment bedrooms.
These professionals are the people who set up the mics, and design them too. They man the mixing board to manipulate raw performance into transcendent musical experiences. Sometimes, they are performers and composers themselves who want to control all aspects of their work.
Skills of the Engineer and Producer
When a roomful of musicians are mic’d up and ready to roll, they wait on the producer for direction.
Music producers are big-picture people. Most all professional producers are skilled project managers from a technical and interpersonal perspective, understanding how all elements and people in the studio collaborate together to realize a higher musical vision.
They also foster long-lasting connections with musicians and other production professionals. This is because producers are often expected to create their own teams of musicians and engineers to make the best recording possible.
Engineers are inspired by acoustics - the properties of sound moving in a space. They combine this knowledge with a technical understanding of amplification and sound recording equipment and concepts to capture sounds at their highest fidelity, or in the most interesting way.
Some producers are also engineers, and some engineers are not producers. Depending on your creative and career aspirations, you may choose to dive into both aspects of the studio experience, or just one.
Demonstrating Production and Engineering Experience Effectively
Prospective music engineering and music production students should have a portfolio of tracks they’ve worked on when applying to music school. This portfolio should demonstrate your best work, while also showing how you’ve improved over the years.
When meeting admissions faculty and staff, students must know how to explain their methodologies. Engineers and producers are consumed not only by the goal, but the journey. Knowing how to talk about your experience is an often-overlooked factor in applying to music production schools.
How Can IMS Help?
A student-centered approach to the music school admissions process.
Through a rigorous exploration of the student’s interests, career aspirations, and enrichment goals, we develop a comprehensive program of portfolio development and admissions interview strategies informed by over 40 years in the business.
Consulting students on the admissions process also requires a keen understanding their motivations for pursuing music.
Students who know how to put their passion forward in music school applications will more successfully pursue those passions. Inside Music Schools is built on a deep experience of how admissions staff and faculty read into those passions when deciding who to admit.
At the end of this process, we develop a comprehensive list of schools the student should apply to based on several factors:
- Interest - What inspires the student to play?
- Skill Level - Our recommendations aim to be constructive environments, not ones that sets the student up to fail.
- Career Prospects - What does the student want to do with their performance major? Some schools are better for teaching, while others are better for musical theater and jazz performance.
With our comprehensive list of music production and engineering schools in hand, and the guidance of consultant Steve Lipman, students have a better chance of getting into the music production school or college that’s right for them.
Where Music Producers and Music Engineers Study
Future producers and engineers can take a wide range of educational paths that lead to successful careers in the music industry.
Sound recording technology degrees for engineers are best sought where the best studios are. The University of Massachusetts Lowell and Berklee College of Music have some of the most sophisticated and well-equipped studios in the country. Known as some of the best schools for music production, the active and diverse music scenes of these schools also give engineers a lot of material and musicians to work with.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most renowned and competitive engineering schools in the world. Prospective students can enter the music industry with a more comprehensive technology background studying from here, or other schools like it.
Music production and engineering majors have many choices when it comes to which school to choose.
The best music production and engineering schools for any particular student is the right one for them - this is what sets them up for successful careers in the music industry.
The first step on any student’s musical journey is asking questions. After our first conversation, you’ll see the value in embarking on this often complicated process with the right guide on your side.