University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

The University of Michigan’s Performing Arts Technology department (PAT) prides itself on endless possibilities. In fact, it offers four different programs: PAT A, PAT B, PAT C and PAT D. Each program focuses on different aspects of music technology — from electronic music composition to the sonic arts to the digital arts.

“We really don’t have any prescribed outcomes for the program,” explains Professor Stephen Rush. “It’s more about starting at an interesting place and then really ending up at a very interesting place — probably using technology along the way.”

Upon graduation, students opt to take a number of career paths. In fact, that’s the goal: for students to graduate with “this incredible peripheral view and say, ‘Oh, I can help with that,’ or ‘I can do this,’” Professor Rush says. Graduates have gone on to work at corporations like Microsoft, Bose and Ford.

They’ve also dipped into the education and non-profit sectors, taking jobs at the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra or at the University of Michigan itself. Others have founded companies, including Terapixel, Inc.; Mesanovic Microphones LLC; and Media Academia LLC.

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California)

There’s something exciting about the announcement of a new degree. In 2015, the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music announced it was adding music production to its music technology program.

The creation of the degree stemmed from industry demand. Nowadays, today’s musicians aren’t just performing. They’re composing, arranging, engineering, editing, mastering and programming music. And don’t forget the business aspect of it all, too…

Those who pursue a music production degree at USC will collaborate with other students — with songwriters, bands, video directors and even video games designers.

“We’ve seen first-hand the power of creating a highly collaborative music community at USC Thornton,” said Vice Dean Chris Sampson said in the initial announcement of the degree. “Adding musicians from the new Music Production major into this community will greatly enhance the experience for all our students.”

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