Choosing the best music production courses requires knowing your goals as a producer, which might entail already having some knowledge about music production technology and the workings of the music industry. If you're starting from scratch, you might need to begin with an introduction to musical history, theory, the industry, and basic production techniques. If you're looking to produce independently, a technical crash course might be enough to get started. Everything depends on where you're at with music or your career.
Most people learning music production are already somewhat experienced with music. Whether as a musician, a disc jockey, or a music collector, it's their passion for music that has generated interest in production. They're either looking to begin a career, to further a career, or to improve upon existing music production skills. Some might already be recording or working independently and are looking for individual music production courses on specific software or music industry niches.
Music production courses are offered on their own or as part of a general course of study leading to a degree or certification. They are offered by schools in both hands-on and online learning environments. When looking for a school or online program, ask yourself questions such as to whether or not the school is accredited, which music production courses are part of the curriculum, if there's help with industry recruitment or internships, and what is the school's track record like for graduates.
Those starting music production courses from scratch may be on a technical track or a more comprehensive, professional track. In addition to recording classes, the latter might include courses in musical history and theory, songwriting, ear training, composition, copyright laws, marketing, distribution, and business. You might be required to take many of these courses to earn your degree, so in this case, rather than looking for individual courses, you'll be looking for the best complete program.
Since music production is a very broad field, most programs require you to choose a focus related to your specific music interests or professional goals. Degrees include master, professional, and specialist. There are programs specific to almost every instrument and genre from acoustic to electronic, and applications that include other industries like film and television. Programs can last anywhere from six months to several years.
People with some experience or already working independently might be seeking music production courses in a new recording software, sound design, or sampling, or in business categories like entrepreneurship. To work with a new technology, they might need to have a music production certification. Finding the best courses in these cases will entail comparing schools and course descriptions. If you can't find enough information about a course, it's usually helpful to call the department and ask questions.
Since education can be expensive, it's important to research your courses carefully. If you're already working in the industry, see if your company will pay for your course. Many producers work independently, so this won't be an option; however, it never hurts to inquire about financial aid. It's also imperative to be aware of registration times since courses can fill up fast, and to know about refund policies in case you decide to drop a course.