How to Become a Music Producer

How to Become a Music Producer
How to Become a Music Producer

If you are interested in becoming a professional music producer, there are many things you can do to help yourself succeed. First of all, you will need to invest some time and money into learning the basics of music production.

You can find instructional videos online, take courses at your local community college, or enroll in an advanced degree program like the Music Production Master’s Degree offered by Berklee College of Music. Of course, it also helps to be talented and creative.


How to Become a Music Producer

Becoming a music producer can be a fulfilling career if you’re passionate about music. From writing lyrics to composing a melody, music producers can take on many aspects of recording. Every song you hear, whether on the radio, commercial or movie, came about because of a music producer who had an idea.

Music producers, sometimes known as record producers, create the beats, tunes, harmonies, sound effects, and chords that combine to make a song. Then, they make sure the music flows and transitions effectively. Producers work in all genres of music, including pop, electronic dance music, country, rock, hip hop, theatre, and jazz, to name a few.

Aspiring musicians who want to record and play music can also pursue this route and write their songs in the hopes of becoming noticed. Many popular artists have taken this route before making it to the big stage. Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Pharrell Williams are just a few well-known artists who began as producers.

So, how do you become a music producer? Some people may not fully comprehend the steps to becoming a music producer, leading them to assume it is out of reach; however, there are opportunities in various industries to examine. It involves a mix of talent, abilities, building relationships, and commitment. If you’re wondering, “What are the requirements for becoming a music producer?” continue reading for all the details.


Job Salary Description

Degree Level Bachelor's degree most common
Degree Field(s) Music production or music
Licensure/Certification None
Experience Recording engineer experience valuable
Key Skills Musical aptitude; strong listening and interpersonal skills; familiarity with audio equipment and software
Required Education Bachelor's degree in music production
Projected Job Growth 2% for all music directors and composers from 2019-2029*
Median Salary $51,670 annually for all music directors and composers (median salary 2019)*

Music Producer: Job Description

Music producers control all parts of a recording session, including mixing, mastering, and recording, using their significant musical and technical studio experience. This job is excellent for folks with a good ear who enjoy staying updated on the latest songs and recording artists.

One of the many talents of music producers is bringing out the best in recording artists through their knowledge of vocal and instrumental arrangements. Some producers hire musicians and singers to perform selected songs; bands or solo artists employ other producers to oversee recording sessions. Music producers may also confer with directors of movies or television programs to determine the placement of a song.

Many producers have worked as recording engineers, adding to a project’s technical capabilities. Audio engineers can use them to help with mixing, mastering, and recording. Some producers specialize in a particular kind of music, such as rock or classical music, while others work for a recording studio, creating the songs of contract musicians.


How to Become a Music Producer

Whether you want to make jingles for commercials, background music for movies, or you want to collaborate with recording artists to produce a song at the top of the Billboard chart, you need a certain kind of talent. However, the education and experience could vary. If you want to know how to become a record producer, you’ll have to look into the specific labels for guidelines, as some may not accept unsolicited demos. In addition, the music producer requirements vary from label to label.


Music Producer Education

Although there’s no standard level of education needed to be a music producer, a bachelor’s degree in music production is the most common credential for aspiring music producers. Many colleges offer music production degree programs, traditionally at the bachelor’s degree level. These four-year programs cover a broad range of courses to expose students to recording arts technology and the music business as a whole. In addition, these programs sometimes include an internship that provides experience overseeing the entire production process.

Knowing what to study for music production job opportunities is key before conducting a job search. For the typical bachelor’s degree in music, courses will cover the basic skills needed for this career path. Sample courses within the following programs include:

  • Recording industry law and ethics
  • Sound editing techniques
  • Digital audio software
  • Electronic music
  • Keyboard harmony
  • Music history
  • Elements of music
  • Composition

Students may need to produce a full-length recording or participate in an internship to graduate. Baccalaureate programs may result in a Bachelor of Science in Music Production or a Bachelor of Music emphasizing production.


Learn to Compose Music

Those who want to pursue music producing gigs as a side job, or those who wish the hands-on experience to go with their degree, can practice and build their skills on their own by purchasing a DAW or digital audio workstation. This software can be downloaded at home on a computer. A DAW is a workstation that includes hardware and software to create, edit, mix and export songs.

These programs can include hundreds of sounds and effects to work with, from a piano to a saxophone to a nylon guitar, and many more. Depending on the features included, they range in price, though basic DAWs can be found for under $100 and are easily installed on a computer or laptop. These may include a keyboard, or electric piano, to play out all the notes and chords to be recorded. Songs can easily be created, exported, and used for a demo or project.


Job Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of music directors and composers, a group that includes music producers, is expected to grow two percent during the 2019-2029 period. However, the BLS further noted that competition for full-time jobs in this field would be strong. States with the highest employment levels of musicians include New York, California, Texas, Oregon, and Florida.


What does a music producer do?

A music producer creates a melody that includes chords, notes and sound effects that combine to make a song. This sometimes includes writing lyrics and working with recording artists and instrumentalists.

What qualifications do you need to become a music producer?
Generally, there are no specific requirements for becoming a music producer, or a recording producer, though having a musical ability is necessary. However, industries may vary on whether an experience is required.


What degree do you need to be a music producer?

There is no ideal music producer education path. Still, many aspiring producers seek a bachelor’s degree in music and consistently practice playing instruments or using a DAW to create music.


Can you major in music production?

There are various music programs at universities and colleges throughout the country, varying at different levels, including an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate. In addition, programs that provide record producer education may cover general music topics or specific, for example, composing music or music history.