The Best Music Schools in the US 2023

best music schools in the us

Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Akwaowo Akpan

Our industry’s exciting aspect of music creation is available as a variety of top-notch training programs. Not all music production courses demand that you have musical training, but the majority do. This article is about the best music schools in the us.

We will discuss the many program types, the benefits of attending a music production school, the numerous types of careers open to music producers, how to select a school and program, as well as the duration and fees of some of the best programs available countrywide, in this post. We’ll examine schools where you can acquire a diploma or a degree in music production, as well as certain certificate programs and other training courses provided by various kinds of institutions.

Here’s what you need to think about when considering music production schools:

  • Why should you attend music production school?
  • What to look for in a music production program
  • How to choose a school
  • Career options for after earning your degree
  • Top 10 schools for music production
  • Other kinds of training programs

You should carefully consider all your alternatives before deciding to pursue music production and audio engineering, as you would with any important decision. You’ll be in a better position to choose the best course of action as you get ready to enter the music industry if you are knowledgeable.

An internship during and after school may still be a good idea for anyone wishing to develop their skills and network in order to break into a highly competitive field. Decades ago, the majority of musicians studied music creation on the job. There are fantastic job options for people who prepare themselves effectively, as evidenced by the fact that there are now so many top-notch institutions where you may study music production.

Can You Go to College for Music Production?

At colleges and universities across the country, music production courses are growing in popularity. So the answer is yes, you can major in music production at college.

Look for courses with names like Sound Recording, Production and Recording, Audio Engineering, Recording Arts, and (obviously) Music Production. Within 2-4 years, you’ll be producing music after completing these classes and learning your way around the recording studio.

Where do most Music Producers go to college?

The Musicians’ Institute, Full Sail University, and Berklee College of Music are the universities that graduate the most music producers. The majority of musicians and those interested in studying music production can easily access the extensive programs offered by all three of these institutions. These three colleges are the most popular ones for Music Production, while there are additional excellent institutions and programs.

Music producers don’t all attend college, although the majority do. Learning the necessary skills, becoming knowledgeable about the tools and technologies utilized by music producers, and establishing the crucial connections to expand one’s professional network are all reasons to enroll in a large college or university program. Graduating from a prestigious music program opens up internship chances as well, which are occasionally the only ways to launch a successful career as a music producer.

Why Should You Attend Music Production School?


Having excellent professional and technical training will be crucial to learning the creative process as well as the business of music in order to position yourself for success as a music producer. This and more are provided by California’s top universities.


The network they can create at a prestigious school is one of the reasons many decide to enroll there. Your future professional success depends on the professors, staff, clinicians, and other students you interact with since they will work with you as partners. Through your future network, you will undoubtedly receive recommendations for excellent professional chances.


The location of a school could be another factor to consider. Numerous of the institutions on my list of the best colleges are situated in large cities near the centers of the music business, such Nashville, Los Angeles, New York City, or Miami. You will have more opportunity to network, land an internship, and find employment after graduation if you study anywhere near the sector.

The specialized training you receive should give you a unique advantage when you enter the fiercely competitive and profitable worldwide music and entertainment sector, in addition to expanding your network and being near to the music industry.

It can be challenging to know where to begin when making a decision on whether and where to attend school. Research as many programs as you can, and then evaluate how well they fit your own preferences, goals, time constraints, and financial constraints.

Hey, how about giving our new Music Career Helper a brief try? It could help you advance your career quickly and is completely free! Test it out. Since it is completely free, you have nothing to lose.

What College Courses Are Needed to Become a Music Producer?

You may study music theory, songwriting, arranging and orchestration, music history, music performance, audio engineering and recording, electronic music, film/video sound, game music, and, of course, music production in your college courses as a music production major.

What Colleges Are Best for Music Production?

In no particular order, our picks for the best music production colleges/universities include:

  • Berklee College of Music
  • NYU Steinhardt
  • USC Thornton School of Music
  • Frost School of Music
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Drexel University
  • UMass Lowell
  • Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)
  • Belmont University
  • American University
  • Full Sail University
  • Musicians Institute
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • SAE Institute

Top 14 Best Music Schools in the US

Since there are so many top-notch programs in the US, selecting the top 14 institutions for music production was quite difficult. Since the majority of students want at least a bachelor’s degree, I have concentrated on universities that issue degrees; however, master’s degrees are also offered, and other institutions provide shorter programs that lead to a certificate or diploma. Most schools require 2-4 years of attendance. Online part-time courses are also available; examples include those provided by ICON Collective.

The following schools all have excellent reputations for their music production programs, even though some reputable institutions may not be listed. Some are more technology-focused and may lead to a bachelor of science (B.S. ), whereas others are more music- or music-business-focused and may lead to a bachelor of music (B.M. ), a bachelor of arts (B.A.), or a bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.

You could pursue master’s degrees in music, arts, or fine arts during your graduate studies. Currently, there aren’t many PhD degrees available in music production.

In the US, full-time college and university programs cost an average of between $40,000 and $80,000 per year, not including living expenses (yes, you read that right). Most colleges provide financial help, and if you live in the area, there may be state-run programs that will save you money. The costs and completion times of certificate programs, individual courses (both in-person and online), and 2-year community institutions are significantly lower. A certificate alone may be sufficient for some people.

Berklee College of Music

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, New York City, and Valencia, Spain
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: Degree $73,471, Diploma $67,331

One of the biggest and most respected programs in music production and engineering is offered at Berklee. They also have majors and minors in video game music, sound design, film scoring, and electronic production. The four-year Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) major program leads to a Bachelor of Music degree. Admission to the major calls for a solid foundation in math and physics.

A Master of Music in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation is offered by Berklee at its campuses in Valencia, Spain, and New York City. Students at Berklee run the renowned Power Station Studios in New York City, where many well-known albums and songs were recorded. In addition, Berklee offers online degrees, certificates, and courses in audio engineering and music production.

Berklee College of Music

NYU Steinhardt

  • Location: New York City
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $78,243

The Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Ph.D. in Music Technology are all degrees that can be earned through NYU/music Steinhardt’s technology programs. Graduate students can also obtain a Tonmeister advanced certificate. Thirteen studios are included in the facilities, one of which is the 7,500 square foot James L. Dolan Music Recording Studio. The Clive Davis Institute at Tisch at NYU also provides a number of cutting-edge courses for Producers and aspiring Music Executives. It is more focused on the financial side of the music business and production.

In terms of technology, instruction, and research, NYU/Steinhardt is a recognized leader in the field, and its programs are extremely competitive. In terms of music technology and production, the school provides more than forty courses, including those in audio engineering, multimedia production, and software development for sound engineering. Students of music also study marketing and the music industry. Students who attend this Manhattan school in Greenwich Village gain access to premier recording studios, music publishing companies, symphonies, jazz clubs, and Broadway theaters.

NYU Steinhardt

USC Thornton School of Music

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $79,063

The Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Ph.D. in Music Technology are all degrees that can be earned through NYU/music Steinhardt’s technology programs. Graduate students can also obtain a Tonmeister advanced certificate. Thirteen studios are included in the facilities, one of which is the 7,500 square foot James L. Dolan Music Recording Studio. The Clive Davis Institute at Tisch at NYU also provides a number of cutting-edge courses for Producers and aspiring Music Executives. It is more focused on the financial side of the music business and production.

In terms of technology, instruction, and research, NYU/Steinhardt is a recognized leader in the field, and its programs are extremely competitive. In terms of music technology and production, the school provides more than forty courses, including those in audio engineering, multimedia production, and software development for sound engineering. Students of music also study marketing and the music industry. Students who attend this Manhattan school in Greenwich Village gain access to premier recording studios, music publishing companies, symphonies, jazz clubs, and Broadway theaters.

USC Thornton School of Music

Frost School of Music

  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $73,712

Frost, a division of the University of Miami, offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in music or science as well as a master’s degree in science. Undergraduate students study traditional music performance, theory, and history while also mastering the technical aspects of recording, mixing, and signal processing.

Students can pick up technological skills in subjects like computer science and electrical engineering. Students who have already earned an undergraduate degree in computer science or electrical engineering are the only ones who can enroll in the master’s program in audio.

 Frost School of Music

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Location: Murfreesboro Tennessee (near Nashville)
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $43,936 (out-of-state), $24,250 (in-state)

The Department of Recording Business at MTSU benefits from Nashville, also known as “Music City,cutting-edge “‘s facilities and proximity to the recorded music industry. Billboard Magazine consistently lists the program as one of the top 10 U.S. schools for audio engineering and the music industry.

They offer a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production and a Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technology, two of the most comprehensive audio engineering programs in the nation. A technical or industry minor, such as computer science, entrepreneurship, or video and film production, is also pursued by undergraduates who major in audio production.

Middle Tennessee State University

Drexel University

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $70,457

Drexel University offers a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, which is housed in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Within the recording arts and music production concentration, students can choose to specialize on music technology and production. It’s not always necessary to play an instrument with tracks for both musicians and non-musicians.

Working at Mad Dragon Records, an indie musical label, gives students practical experience. Drexel makes a lot of effort to find each graduate a job or internship as soon as possible after they graduate.

 Drexel University

UMass Lowell

  • Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $49,054 (out-of-state), $31,128 (in-state), $42,668 (regional New England)

The highly regarded Sound Recording Technology department at UMass Lowell, which is located in the Music Department and provides bachelor’s and master’s degrees, is located twenty miles north of Boston. Students must sing or play a musical instrument during their audition. In five years, students can complete a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. (Note: While they are revising the curriculum and program, UMass has temporarily paused admissions to the master’s degree.)

 UMass Lowell

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees: Varies according to family income, credits taken, and whether in-state or out-of-state. Tuition and fees only between $4,000-8,000 annually for in-state and $8,000-17,000 for out-of-state.

The Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts is home to Tri-Recording C’s Arts and Technology program. This magnificent 75,000 square foot building, which is managed in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, contains contemporary recording studios, a concert hall, and the Rock Hall’s archives. In addition, the Center houses a lab for animation, keyboard classrooms, dance and theater studios, as well as numerous music technology and editing suites.

The Recording Arts and Technology programs at Tri-C lead to a Certificate or an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. One of the biggest and most highly regarded community colleges in the nation, Tri-C has an articulation agreement (2 + 2) with Boston’s Berklee College of Music that allows students to transfer from Tri-C with their Associate’s and complete their Bachelor’s at Berklee in just two years.

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

Belmont University

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $51,670

Belmont University’s Entertainment and Music Business Department offers Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Audio Engineering Technology with an optional music production emphasis. Belmont University is located very close to the Nashville music industry. In addition to taking classes in science-related subjects like audio engineering, physics, and electronic circuitry, students are also required to complete a minor in a field with a connection to their industry. For learning and service, Belmont University describes itself as a “Christian Community.”

 Belmont University

American University

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $67,694

In addition to graduate programs in audio technology, American University in the nation’s capital offers undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts in Audio Production and the Bachelor of Science in Audio Technology. Students can choose to specialize in music, communication, computer science, or physics, and programs emphasize sound synthesis and studio management.

The Audio Technology Program combines music technology with the art and science of audio. The use of digital audio workstations, electronics, physics, sound synthesis, and audio production are all covered in the core courses. They have cutting-edge recording studios, live performance areas that can be recorded, and even a collection of synthesizers.

American University

Following are a few bonus schools and other options for studying music production:

Full Sail University

  • Location: Winter Park, Florida (near Orlando)
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $40,363

When Full Sail first opened in 1979, it was an audio engineering school that taught recording techniques. They now offer courses in a wide range of other technical and artistic fields as part of their curriculum. Recording arts, audio production, and show production all provide bachelor’s degrees. They also provide an expedited five-month Certificate in Audio Production program.

Some of their programs involve solely on-campus or online coursework, whilst others combine the two. On their campus, there are many contemporary recording settings, from complete recording studios to live venues.

Full Sail University

Musicians Institute

  • Location: Hollywood, California
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $47,088

The Audio Engineering program at Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music (often known as M.I.) offers a Certificate in Production. In addition, they grant Associate’s, Master’s, and Bachelor’s degrees in the fields of music, art, and science. In addition to sound design and music production, students might concentrate on the music industry or songwriting.

The Artist Producer Entrepreneur, Electronic Music Production, and Studio Recording programs at MI are all available online. Numerous graduates of Musicians Institute currently work in the global music business.

Musicians Institute

Carnegie Mellon University

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $74,491

As a collaborative effort between the School of Music, the School of Computer Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University offers a Bachelor of Science in Music and Technology. Recording technology, audio engineering, computer music, music composition, performance, music theory, and Pro-Tools are all subjects that undergraduates study.

Those interested in computer music systems, instrument design, or technologically assisted composition or performance can pursue a Master of Science in music and technology. Even a class in musical robotics is offered, in which computers perform electromechanical instrumentation.

Carnegie Mellon University

SAE Institute

  • Location: Multiple U.S. locations, and overseas
  • Estimated annual tuition, fees, & living costs: $47,739

Since 1976, SAE has provided audio engineering programs at fifty locations throughout the world including six campuses in the United States. The Bachelor of Applied Science degree or the Audio Diploma are the outcomes of the authorized studies in audio technology and audio production. Additionally, they provide courses in film production, gaming audio creation, and the music industry.

SAE has offices in New York City, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Nashville in the United States. With its online courses, SAE also emphasizes the professional development of producers and engineers.

SAE Institute

Shorter Courses

ICON Collective

ICON Collective’s school in Los Angeles and online both offer shorter music production programs. A single 12-week online introduction course costs $3,000; an 18-month online music production program costs $15,000; a 12-month on-campus “Flagship” music production program costs $26,000; or an 18-month advanced music production program costs $39,000. (Weekly training hours for on-campus courses are greater than those for online courses.)

You will learn “fundamental technical skills while also accessing your individual creative approach,” according to ICON.

ICON Collective


An intensive one-year school in music, post-production, and sound for movies and video games is offered by Pyramind, a San Francisco-based and online Ableton and Avid accredited training facility. Students can work with industry-standard equipment in four excellent studio spaces throughout the in-person course, which has a starting price of roughly $21,000. They can also participate in their structured mentorship program.

As an artist development and release outlet for Pyramind SF students, graduates, staff, and the general public, Pyramind also runs a record label.



Only online courses; prices start at $649. An intriguing alternative is Soundfly, which provides active, tailored learning under the direction of a subject-matter expert mentor. They provide affordable, flexible courses in songwriting, music theory, composition, performance, electronic music, music business, and music marketing in addition to courses in music production.


What to Look for in a Music Production Program

First, give your tastes and career goals some thought. Music producers come in a variety of forms and operate in what seems like an infinite number of distinct markets. Even if you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to go, as you examine the programs available, establish a list of your likes and dislikes.

Some things you might want to consider while choosing a music production school:

  • Who is on faculty?
  • What are the facilities like?
  • How many students are enrolled?
  • What is the typical class size?
  • Who are their successful graduates?
  • How long does the program take?
  • What is the cost and is there financial aid available?

You could also take into account the weather, the industry focus (Los Angeles is heavily focused on film music, while Miami has a significant Latin music market), crime rates, the school’s “vibe,” the proximity to cultural resources (like museums or theme parks), or anything else that might have an impact on your choice. The objective at this phase is to create a list of standards you may use to evaluate each institution you are considering.

How can I enter the music production field?

To achieve the objective of being a prosperous music producer, there are numerous routes. Anyone trying to enter into such a highly competitive sector must be prepared, whether through attending school or through other ways. It is not unexpected that there are many people putting a lot of effort into advancing their professions as successful music producers can make a solid livelihood and the profession is occasionally viewed as glamorous.

When beginning out, it’s crucial to take into account the variety of skills and subject-matter knowledge required. For instance, developing excellent teamwork and communication skills, learning to play an instrument (not necessarily for performance, but to understand the creative process), and training your ears to be sensitive to various production techniques when listening to music are all things that could be very helpful.

It’s also crucial and helpful to learn how to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), understand how to utilize an audio mixer, have a nice working environment with appropriate acoustics, and know how to market oneself on social media. It will also be crucial to gain a thorough understanding of how the music industry functions, particularly how revenue (money) is made through the licensing of intellectual property that is copyright protected.

The financial and legal elements of music, as well as how to create music, are fortunately covered in a wide range of helpful books, articles, blogs, and videos. Read them and watch them. Another tried-and-true method of breaking into the music production industry is to secure an internship with a reputable music producer or studio.

How to Choose a Music Production School

In light of the aforementioned, I advise you to first do some research on a number of schools, possibly as many as 10 or 15. Make a list of the characteristics of each school that you like or dislike. Plan to visit the school, if possible, or at the very least take a virtual tour if one is available as you reduce your list.

Additionally, make an effort to get in touch with existing members of the professors, staff, and students. You should try to visualize what it would be like to live there on a daily basis and to acquire a true sense of what it would be like to study there.

Check out the application requirements as well as the admissions procedure. No top 10 list is necessary for your final decision as long as it is a perfect fit for you. Spend adequate time analyzing each program.

Your ultimate decision may be influenced by a variety of factors, including illustrious alumni, the instructors’ backgrounds, the school’s location, tuition costs, or your interest in the course material. Consider your options carefully and seek advice from other reliable individuals about which school would be the greatest fit for you because every school is unique.

Read Also: Best Music Schools in Indiana

Career Options After Earning Your Degree

So what exactly does a music producer do? Prince Charles Alexander, a renowned record producer, Berklee professor, and GRAMMY winner says

The producer’s primary responsibility is to develop an overarching vision for the sound of the album and to marshal the team’s efforts to realize that vision. There are three facets, or levels, to being a producer: the Executive Producer, who handles the financial aspects; the Creative Producer, who is typically what comes to mind when we think of the term; and the Technical Engineer. The first two categories of producers are rather simple, but there are three categories of technical engineers: recording, mixing, and mastering. Therefore, the Engineer is a member of the production team and has a very technical job. Most engineers, especially mastering engineers, have some kind of specialization in one of those fields.

Charles notes that there are various kinds of music producers, and they can have one or more specialties. “Producer” is a broad term that can refer to many different jobs. Some producers may, for instance, work in A&R (Artist and Repertoire) at a record label, be music executives, work directly in the studio, or even handle live sound for clubs, concerts, tours, or sporting events. Many music producers also perform and arrange music, or they could be songwriters and composers.

A recent college grad who successfully completes an internship may land a job or work primarily as a freelance producer, assisting other musicians to fulfill their own distinctive artistic visions.

What is the job outlook for a Music Producer?

The U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, a government organization, predicts that employment of music producers and music directors will increase by about 6% per year for the remainder of this decade. This implies that each year, about 6,000 new Music Producer positions are created.

Of course, location, networking, and a little bit of good ol’ luck will also be important factors for those vying for these positions. The overall state of the economy will also probably have an impact; for example, in a recession, jobs may be hard to come by.

After graduating from a top university, music producers can anticipate finding work in nine to twelve months. Internships are beneficial. Others find work doing small jobs for various clients and music artists, or through Music Supervisors, while some producers work in businesses or commercial firms, perhaps in advertising, film, or recording studios.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are lots of excellent options available if you want to train to become a music producer in order to build your future career. Whether or not getting a degree is your primary objective, there is a lot to learn and a lot of places to do it. Make an informed decision by taking the time to learn about what each institution and program has to offer.


  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

    View all posts
Share this post on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *