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Music Production

Students working on computer and music instruments

Department: Music

Program Type: Art, Design, Theatre, and Music

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ECC’s Music Production program allows you to develop the necessary professional skills to record and produce music. Throughout the program, you will learn best practices and experience using industry-standard recording software such as Pro Tools®, Logic®, Ableton Live®, and Adobe® Audition®. Whether your goal is to seek a career in the field or learn the skills needed to create high-quality music, this program will get you started.

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The employment outlook for music producers varies depending on the specific industry and location. Job opportunities may be more plentiful in certain areas, such as major cities with thriving music industries, and in certain genres of music. 

Additionally, the growth of streaming services and online platforms has increased the demand for music producers, as more music is being produced and distributed than ever before. Overall, the employment outlook for music producers is expected to be competitive, with opportunities for those with the right skills and experience. Refer to Career Coach for more information related to similar occupations and compensation.

Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

Review the ECC catalog for details about the music production plan of study and course descriptions.

Associate of Fine Arts

Basic Vocational Certificate

What is a Music Producer?

When recording a song, a music producer, often called a record producer, ensures that the output is as good as possible. The producer can offer suggestions to the vocalist or band regarding particular elements of their performance or ensure the engineer performs his duties. Music producers have a variety of roles during the recording, production, and dissemination of music by bands and performers. Music producers make recordings come to life. They oversee and manage the technical and artistic aspects of a single song, a soundtrack, or an album.

What Does a Music Producer Do?

The music producer’s job is to ensure that the finished product meets the vision of the recording label and/or artist (as has been contractually laid out). They have a keen knowledge of music and the technical expertise of the recording equipment, and they’re up to the minute on the latest formats, genres, sounds, production techniques, and all that jazz. Although it varies from person to person, producers work the soundboard, help place microphones, or even participate as musicians, if needed. They don’t always have to be “hands-on,” though. A music producer’s job can seem as simple as sitting on the couch listening, but never assume it’s easy work. If you’re starting your music-producing career journey, your job is to ensure that a song is well recorded and received. If the band struggles and the engineer has trouble with the technical aspects, a producer needs to be more involved in the recording process. Good record producers understand all aspects of studio production and the creative process. They also have a good ear and a well-rounded knowledge of how voices and instruments produce recordable sounds. You can still be a competent music producer without being able to write, arrange, or even perform music, but the job becomes much more difficult.

Music producers oversee, from planning the sessions to the finished product. As a music producer, you'll provide instruments, schedule studio time, and handle funding, costs, and negotiations. You'll also work with and coach musicians. A significant aspect of your job as a music producer is creating quality sounds that match the musicians' and producers' plans.

Additionally, as part of your daily routine, you'll assist audio engineers in the mixing and recording. Engineers primarily deal with the technical aspects of the recording, such as broadcasting and converting sounds. If you're working with a smaller record label, you may perform the music producer's and audio engineer's tasks. Finally, music producers also have an entrepreneurial role in ensuring the business flourishes and is within budget.

How to Become a Music Producer?

Music Production students can complete a three-semester basic vocational certificate (BVS) or a two-year Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degree program. The vocational certificate program provides hands-on skills necessary for employment. At the same time, the AFA degree is designed to set students up for a successful transfer to a four-year college or university. Students who complete the AFA in Music Production will also earn the BVS in Music Production. Conversely, students who begin their studies with a goal of a BVS will find, upon completion, that they are well on their way to the AFA in Music Production. All the credits from the BVS apply to the AFA.

Students should begin with MUS 150 (Introduction to Music Production) and MUS 170 (Recording Techniques I) during their first semester, as these are prerequisites for advanced recording classes. MUS 171 (Recording Techniques II) is only available during fall semesters. First-year students should also plan to take MUS 100 (Intro to Music Theory).

What sets ECC’s program apart?

Elgin Community College is a great place to develop skills and talents. ECC has professional performance facilities, a dedicated recording studio, private instruction, individual practice rooms, multiple performance opportunities, and workshops with visiting artists. Learn from faculty who are professional musicians who can coach you toward your best performance.

What skills can I develop?

  • Create high-quality music production projects using industry-standard software, such as Pro Tools®, Logic®, Ableton Live®, and Adobe® Audition®.
  • Record music with professional equipment, including microphones.
  • Mix music tracks using standard audio effect processes.
  • Perform music in a solo or collaborative environment.
  • Edit sound files for aesthetic and technical purposes.
  • Analyze recorded music for balance, instrumentation, clarity, and audio effects.

Getting a Job as a Music Producer

Jobs that may be available to students who complete a Music Producer certificate or degree include the following:

  • A&R
  • Audio Engineer
  • Audio Technician
  • Beatmaker
  • Board Operator
  • Freelance Technology Assistant
  • Home Studio Producer
  • Music Director of Composer
  • Songwriter
  • Sound Engineer

Learn more about the Music Producer department at ECC!

Earning an Associate Degree at Elgin Community College can set your career in motion.

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