Selection of the best music technology courses requires looking at the music technology industry as a whole. This is because the technician has to have an idea of whether the course will be useable well into the future. It also requires looking at data integration and presentation.
The most vital factor to consider when looking at music technology courses is whether the programs used in the courses are standard in the industry. Professionals use standard programs regularly. Manufacturers of the programs thus issue regular updates, meaning the programs are not likely to become entirely obsolete within just a few years. Translated into the job market, this means that a music technology specialist has a wider variety of positions to which he can apply, as more companies use the software, and that any job obtained has some staying power.
The next step in determining which music technology courses are best is to look at whether the data learned integrates easily with data from other related courses. For example, a music technology course may use a program to create sheet music. The course would be better if the program also could create audio files, as those files then could carry over to music editing and mixing. The idea is that a high integration level leaves the technician open to expanding his career in more than one direction, or using the same tools to produce many different musical projects.
Another factor that comes into play when choosing a music technology course is how instructors present information. Lecture formats are fine for initial data presentations, but students also should have plenty of hands-on opportunities. This lets them get a feel for how to navigate around particular hardware and software on their own. It also gives students the chance to hear the auditory results of trial and error processing, which is imperative if the technician wants to have control of subtle musical nuances and move original concepts from the drawing board to a finished product.
Students entering music technology courses also should investigate how long the academic institution has offered the course or program. Courses that are entirely new or which have been offered for only a few semesters usually still have some room to develop. They also tend to have smaller budgets, which is not good when music technicians must rely on up-to-date, fast computers, keyboards, mixing boards and other equipment. The institution should be able to accommodate the need to replace software or equipment that becomes outdated or breaks, particularly because a single loose connection or computer virus can be disastrous to a system. It sometimes helps to tour the music laboratory in which the institution holds the music technology courses before signing up.