PART 3: Music Production & Technology Summer Programs
When looking at these programs, I evaluated them on similar metrics above; faculty experience, student placement into top undergraduate programs, student experience, etc.
Unlike the ones above, I also evaluated these in part based on their facility for students studying music technology as well as other unique offerings of the program, such as access to musicians outside of audio engineering or an immersion within a related curriculum like music business.
New York University Summer Institute of Music Production and Technology (New York, NY)
NYU actually has a number of summer music production type programs; three to be exact.
Later in this article, I tell you more about one of them, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music’s summer program, an option that is a hybrid of business and music.
The one highlighted here is an institute recorded mostly to recorded music. Topics in this one include microphone placement & recording, live sound, mixing, mastering, etc.
The other program at NYU not named Clive Davis, the NYU Summer Eletronic Music Institute, is a separate program more devoted to topics of electronic (as opposed to recorded) music, including sound design, production strategies, and physics of sound.
Both are excellent programs with low acceptance rates, due to the immense popularity of the institutes.
I highly recommend applying for one of these programs if you are interested in attending NYU for music production or technology.
Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Like NYU, Drexel has two music production program offerings at their school.
The first is the Music Industry Summer Program held at Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. This is a hybrid program of music production, specifically recorded music, and music business, covering topics in music entrepreneurship as well as marketing music.
The second one is their Summer Music Technology program. This program is, although another music production program, far more technology-oriented as its name would suggest. Some topics here include sound synthesis, acoustics, audio effects, and more.
I recommend the Music Industry program especially if you are looking to attend a music business program, or a hybrid music business/music production performance program like the one that Drexel has at its Bachelor’s degree level.
Carnegie Mellon University Summer Pre-College Music (Pittsburgh, PA)
Yet again, we find another program that offers two unique options for students interested in applying to this summer option.
Time and time again, at the college level, you will find music production programs in two offerings; recording and electronic music. In many cases, these programs are happily married into one program.
But some schools have specialties in one or the other.
At this summer program, the recording techniques program is a class deeply immersed in learning how to use Pro Tools, the industry standard software for recording live instruments/voice and editing music. Students are provided an opportunity to work in the studio at the school.
The other option is a music technology course delving into topics of MIDI, music notation, recording, and more.
What I like about this particular summer program is that the music technology students will be exposed to a vast array of musicians in other programs. Indeed, students studying musical disciplines like opera, piano performance, jazz, dance, musical theatre, and composition are also studying at this summer program.
Oberlin’s Sonic Arts Workshop (Oberlin, OH)
Oberlin is home to TIMARA, a unique program known as Technology in Music and Related Arts.
This program is very much an electronic music course; students learn topics in digital sound recording, composing and mixing, sampling and even the history of electronic music.
I would strongly recommend this program to someone interested in applying to the TIMARA program at the undergraduate level of Oberlin.
Oberlin itself is a top-tier liberal arts college with an attached conservatory.
Syracuse University Summer College (Syracuse, NY)
Syracuse University professor Heath Hanlin, a respected media artist whose works have been performed throughout the world, runs this program that is nothing less than complete immersion into recording. Mic’ing techniques, mastering, editing – these are the kinds of topics that students in this program cover.
Like Drexel, Syracuse is one of the few programs that, at the undergraduate level, hosts a Bachelor’s Degree in music industry, a hybrid program of business and electronic music production. For the student seriously interested in pursuing recording or business at the college and professional level, Syracuse would be a great option.
Tisch Summer High School’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
The second program on this list hosted by New York University, what I especially like about Clive Davis’s summer program is its emphasis on creating a musician who understands the professional industry from multiple angles.
The program is a training ground for young artists desiring an education well-rounded in music production, music business, and the cultural scene of New York City.
Some may dislike how New York-centric the last part of that sentence is; the music industry certainly exists in both large cities and smaller cities in the US. That said, I think that anyone who desires a career in music business or production should, at the very least, understand how NYC fits into the industry at large.
Of course, the Clive Davis summer program is directly affiliated with the Clive Davis Institute of NYU, perhaps the most sophisticated hybrid music business & music production program in the US. Many students who attend the summer program ultimately gain admission into the college program, though it is by no means a guaranteed admission.
Faculty at the college level include Questlove, drummer for world-renowned R&B group the Roots, Robert Christgau, one of America’s leading popular music journalists, and Robert Glasper, jazz pianist extraordinaire.
On the next page, I outline part 4 of this list, top summer programs in musical theatre…