Music technology is an exciting, varied and rapidly expanding subject area. You are exposed to its products every day. Every TV programme, every pop, rock and dance track and every movie features extensive use of the type of skills you might expect to acquire on a music technology degree. If you would like a career as a record producer, a sound engineer, a dialogue editor, or a computer game sound designer, this type of course could be for you.
With the increase of computer power, the field is advancing ever more rapidly. Laptops are now as powerful as the major recording studios of only a few years ago and those same studios have advanced accordingly. The expanding world of digital TV is demanding more and more graduates, and as the music industry moves from the high street to the internet, opportunities at many levels will increase.
The field is highly competitive and so a degree might just give you the edge you need to succeed. If you do, the hours are long, the pay is (usually) less than you would wish, but working in a studio can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Most professionals report enormous job satisfaction.
Qualifications to get onto programmes at university vary. The courses vary enormously in their content and emphasis, but typically an A-level or national diploma in music technology would be a good starting point to get a place. Subjects such as music or physics can be an advantage for certain courses, and you should be a creative and motivated individual with a love of music and sound. If you are not actually studying one of these subjects, some universities will allow entry by portfolio which means that if you are already an active home recording enthusiast, they might appraise your work and offer a place if it appears of a high enough standard. Many universities require that you play an instrument, possibly to a high standard, but this is not always the case. Check the UCAS handbook for specific entrance qualifications. It is important that you understand exactly what the emphasis of a given course is before applying since the available range is so large. Getting started in a career after graduating can be tricky, so choosing a university with industrial links, accreditation or placements can often help.
'I'd like to be a producer'
Kara Yui, 21, goes to Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham. She has A-levels in maths (C), music (C), music technology (B)
"My A-level subjects were intended to prepare me towards a musical career of some sort. Having previously focused on classical music, it wasn't until college that I discovered I wanted to get involved with contemporary music. But, when presented with the daunting task of selecting a university, I was lulled by the appeal of being in the heart of entertainment.
Of the courses I looked at, London College of Music at Thames Valley University offered the most exciting range of modules and pathways for me. From pre and post-production to business and law, the degree opens up many career opportunities. I would like to become a producer later on, but have also taken a keen interest in live sound. Also, I am currently helping out with promotions. The broad array of skills that I will graduate with means that I won't be forced into one area. Another major advantage is the experience of my lecturers, who are actually working in the industry and are able to bring their expertise into the classes."
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