If you’re considering going to a music production school, then you should probably read this article. As someone who went to school for music production as well as being a lifelong musician, I have insights that could be useful to you.
I also want to mention that I don’t consider myself a music producer. I wanted to be, years go – but I think I found my calling and producing music for other people just isn’t one of those things. However, I still do it for myself and my own sanity.
I know enough to be dangerous when it comes to producing music. I know people who do produce music and I actively follow others online who produce music.
So hopefully I’ve convinced you that I might have some valuable insight on this.
Is A Music Producer a Good Career Choice?
It can be for some, for others it’s not. Here’s the reality with any career. If you enjoy what you are doing and can develop a passion for it, then that’s half the battle.
Like anything, if you are going to succeed at it, it’s going to take hard work and something needs to motivate you.
…And let me tell you, I hope it’s not money that motivates you to be a music producer because frankly, that’s probably going to take a very long time to make any kind of comfortable income on a regular basis from it.
You can also expect to deal with the things that motivated me to write this post for musicians.
You will probably spend very long weeks, months, and years bending over backwards to make ends meat before you really start to see it pay off. That’s the common theme I see and hear from music producers.
For every Bob Rock, Brendan O’Brien, Timbaland, or Dr. Dre, there are thousands upon thousands of music producers that are still struggling. Arguably even millions.
So if you are going to be a music producer, be prepared to work your ass of, work for pennies, and probably contemplate what you are doing with your life more than once, before you are able to “succeed”.
I put succeed in quotations because that’s a relative term. You need to define your success. But in order to succeed, whatever you define as success, that means you have to not give up.
Your first few months and years are probably going to be very tough.
Should You Go To Music Production School?
Well, you’re definitely going to need some kind of experience or training. The question is, how serious are you about it as a career?
If you are serious about it as a career and you are prepared to make the sacrifices, then absolutely I think going to some kind of school for music production can be worth it.
If it’s something you want to learn and be able to do on your own or take on a few projects here and there, don’t waste your money… because then it’s just a really expensive hobby. Music production school is expensive.
Don’t go into tens of thousands of dollars just for a hobby.
There are plenty of resources out there to learn music production. So much in fact I think there is an argument that can be made that if you are determined and dedicated enough, you don’t need to go to a school for music production.
In music production I’ve noticed people don’t care where you were trained, or even if you were trained in the first place. They don’t care how much you think you know.
It’s not like being a doctor or an engineer where you need to prove that you have formal, professional training before you can even be considered for a job interview.
They care about what you’ve done and how good you are. They care about your experience. Not school.
So you don’t necessarily need school to become a music producer, though it is probably a good idea for some of you if you are serious about it… but whether you are in school or learning on your own, you do need patience, discipline, and determination.
Can I Learn Music Production On My Own?
In a word, yes. In another word, absolutely.
The challenge is going to be knowing what to learn, keeping up on it, and actually putting the techniques and knowledge into practice.
As I said before, it is possible to do it on your own and there are lots of resources out there to help you along the way.
If you are seriously considering learning about music production there’s two things I would do:
- Start following some blogs and YouTube channels to learn the basics and some techniques.
- Get a DAW. Most DAWs come with some kind of software and I recommend getting something you can easily expand on if you want to.
Some of my favorite blogs and YouTube channels include:
- SpectreSoundStudios (YouTube)
- Recording Revolution (YouTube) (Blog)
- Produce Like A Pro (YouTube) (Blog)
Of course there are many more but I certainly like those ones above.
Summary & FAQs
Music production school can be worth it if you are serious about it. You will learn a lot and probably pretty quickly too. You will also learn the basics of the music business.
However there is a strong argument that can be made that music production school may not be necessary. If you are proactive, research, and practice what you learn, then you can probably become just as good a music producer as anyone else.
That being said, regardless which route you go, be prepared to put in copious amounts of time to get experience for very little monetary compensation. You will probably have to build a reputation for yourself and be your own marketing and sales team as well.
Careers in music production don’t really seem to affected by where you went to school, but more on what you have done.
Making a living in producing music is very tough but there are those who succeed and can make a comfortable living at it. It just takes a lot of work, experience, and time.
- What are the best schools for music production?
Some of the most popular music production schools are:
Berklee College of Music
Full Sail University
California Institute of the Arts
Recording Arts Canada
Nimbus School of Recording & Media
- Should you go to school for music production?
It depends on your motivation and how willing you will be to persevere through long weeks, months, and years of trying to gain experience for very little money. Music production schools are expensive and it is really tough to make a living for most people.
That being said for the right person it can absolutely be worth going to school for music production. However there is a strong argument that can be made against going to school and going the “do it yourself” path.
In most cases jobs as a music producer don't really have any bearing on where you went to school. They care what you have done and what you can do.
- Is a music producer a good career?
It can be yes. However more often than not you will have to spend years honing your craft and making very little money before you start to really see some success. It's a career you do for the long run and because you love it. If you are in it for the money, go do something else.
- Can I learn music production on my own?
Absolutely. There are tons of resources out there on how to learn music production and theory. I would start following some of the popular blogs/youtube channels, and get yourself a DAW of some kind.
Once you have done that, start working at it and trying different things.
- How much does music production school cost?
A lot. It varies significantly from program to program but all things being equal – it's expensive. I don't recommend going to school for music production unless you are genuinely passionate and interested in doing it. Otherwise you are going into heaps of debt just for a hobby.