Perhaps the most rapidly growing field of music in colleges today is music production.

More and more, we are seeing students who seek a specialization in this incredibly focused musical niche dealing in the areas of sound recording, digital composition and acoustic engineering.

So why is there an incredible interest — frenzy even — for music production schools in the U.S.? Quite simply, it offers many possibilities when it comes to career outcome and satisfaction.

Alumni of the top music production programs regularly gain careers in live sound, mixing, mastering, recording studios, producing artists, composing for commercial media and, in some instances, engineering acoustical spaces.

Of course as the demand grows for acceptance into these top programs, it will become increasingly competitive to be accepted into these schools, which requires submitting a portfolio of original music as well as an audition and interview at many top programs.

Today, we break down the top 10 colleges in 2018 for studying music production in the U.S. (in alphabetical order).

These schools represent a diversity of locations, minds and accomplishments — each one unique in its offerings.


Belmont University (Nashville, Tennessee)

Photo by Lahti via Wikimedia Commons

The Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University has produced a number of renowned alumni, including Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood and Lee Ann Womack. It makes sense because of its location on Nashville’s Music Row.

Its 1988 graduate, Dann Huff, now an award-winning producer and guitarist, says “If you want to be in the center of things — just whatever’s happening, all the musicians, all the people that have a lot of promise — the energy just seems to kind of gravitate and settle right there on that campus.”

Within that orb of energy is the Curb College Audio Engineering Technology program (B.A. or B.S.), which focuses not only on the art of audio engineering but also the science and practical application of it. Students gain hands-on knowledge of audio tech equipment, which helps them understand how to use it, why it’s used and what it does.

Several times a year, the college hosts showcases, which are entirely student-run. This decades-long tradition allows current students to perform on stage, mix audio, program lights, shoot video and direct the show.


Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts)

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Not to be confused with the California school pronounced identically, Berklee is situated in Boston. It also boasts a campus in Valencia, Spain, and offers an award-winning online program.

Founded back in 1945, Berklee was the first school to teach popular music, which, at the time, was jazz. Since then, 120 Berklee alumni have received 283 Grammy Awards, including John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, Natalie Maines and Ben McKee.

Back on campus, students choose from 12 majors to study and work inside 160 Massachusetts Avenue, a custom-built facility. The 16-story building includes a little bit of everything — from 173 residence hall rooms to 23 practice rooms to a fitness center to a 400-seat dining hall, which also serves as a performance center. Theoretically, it sounds like you don’t even have to step outside.

Berklee continues to create headlines, too. In September 2017, the school, alongside trustee Pete Muller, saved the historic Power Station Studios in New York City. Now, students will operate the studio, which is where big-name artists — including Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Madonna, Lady Gaga and David Bowie — have recorded.