FAQ : Music Engineering Programs

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Music engineering is a broad field that covers a lot of audio ground. Music engineers work in nearly every area of the entertainment industry: movies, TV, radio, recording studios, and at music halls and other concert venues. But before they get into the studio, music engineers need to learn how to work with the equipment and be ready to solve any audio problem. What are some of the most common questions about music engineering programs? What do you need to know?

Do I Need to Be a Computer Programmer to Be A Music Engineer?

Music engineers are engineers, so a good portion of your studies will be focused on technology, engineering, and the physics of sound. You will be using both hardware and software throughout your program. You don’t, however, have to consider yourself a hardcore programmer to become a music engineer. The program is there to teach you. That being said, you should have a willingness and eagerness to learn. You should know your way around the basics of technology. Talking to those who teach or are students in your program will give you a better idea of what kinds of programming is required.

Do I Need to Be a Musician to Become a Music Engineer?

Music engineers need to know how instruments work. The easiest way to gain this knowledge is by learning to play instruments yourself. While you do not need to be a virtuoso, you will need to know how to read music and be foundationally-versed in at least one group of instruments. Your music engineering studies may involve private lessons, ensemble work, and even, if you choose, performances as a musician.

As a Music Engineering Student, Will I Get to Practice Engineering at Live Performances?

One of the greatest things about attending a music school is all of the opportunities for collaboration. You will be surrounded by ensembles, bands, and individual musicians looking for engineers to help them sound their best. Your professors may even assign you groups of musicians to work with. The best music engineering programs have access to studios and live venues in which you can practice your skills. Talk to the individual program to get an idea of what kinds of opportunities they have to offer.

How Do Music Engineers Find Jobs?

Music engineers find jobs in a variety of ways. Sometimes, companies look directly to schools to recruit their next hires. Sometimes this is done through a job fair, and sometimes it’s done through an internship pipeline. The reality in any industry is that a good amount of jobs are landed through word of mouth. You can’t apply if you don’t even know about the job! Several professional associations exist for audio engineers. Participating in a professional organization can be an effective way of finding a job as well.

Can A Music Engineering Major Graduate in Four Years?

Undergraduate music engineering majors can definitely graduate in four years if they maintain good communication with their advisors and stay on track. The school is invested in you as a student and wants you to graduate so that you can begin your next adventure. Even though music engineering combines creative and technical classes, the degree program should be well-structured so that it won’t require more time than any other typical bachelor’s degree.

What’s the Difference Between a Music Engineer and a Sound Engineer?

Sound engineering is a broad field in which music engineering is a significant part. Some sound engineers, however, are not music engineers. Foley sound, for instance, produces a special group of audio effects (glass breaking, doors closing, etc.) that occur in movies and TV. While not all sounds are considered music, most music engineers will develop the basic skills in their program to be ready to tackle any audio challenge. If you want to specialize in a certain kind of music engineering, make sure the school you apply to offers that same concentration.

Are Financial Aid and Scholarships Available to Music Engineers?

Plenty of financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available to music engineers, especially in schools where the program has enjoyed a long history and has a substantial pool of alumni. When you begin seeking money for school, the first step is to fill out the FAFSA, available online. Completing this application may make you eligible for a wide range of government funding. In addition to government funding, most schools have a plethora of scholarships they give out each year. Some are need-based and some are merit-based. Some scholarships you have to apply for, while others are doled out without the student knowing about it beforehand. Make sure to ask pointed questions to your department and admissions office so that you are aware of all of the funding options available to you. They are there to help!

Under Which Part of the University if the Music Engineering Program Housed?

There is no better environment for music engineers than to be surrounded by music and musicians, so the music engineering program will typically be housed within the music school. Not all music schools, however, are the same. As you begin looking at programs, it will be important to consider schools that have robust, substantial music schools. There’s nothing worse than arriving at what you think will be a large program to realize that there are only three other music majors. Don’t get quality and quantity mixed up, however. You’ll want to find the best program with the best people.

How Do I Find the Best Music Engineering Program for Me?

As you make your decision about where to apply to music engineering programs, there will be numerous factors you will need to consider. The longevity of the program, the qualifications of the faculty, the financial picture, and the accomplishments of the alumni are just a few relevant considerations. The Frost School at the University of Miami offers the unique Frost Approach, an innovative pedagogy technique in which instructors work with small groups of students at a time to maximize personal attention and effective learning. With a $12 million studio and a program history dating back to the 1980s, Frost’s music engineering program is a premiere, globally-recognized destination.