Music producers wear many hats in the recording industry. Sometimes studio musician, sometimes mixing artist and sometimes financial analyst, a skilled music producer must rely on his education and instinct to succeed in his field. For high school students, it is never too early to start laying the foundation for a lucrative and satisfying career in music production. This includes enrolling in courses and signing up with extracurricular activities that can benefit this future career path.
Many high schools feature extracurricular and elective programs that can be very useful to the aspiring music producer. For example, if your school has a radio station (on air or online), a television news program or any sort of website production course these can be very useful tools. Enrolling in these activities can help familiarize you with the role of production, delegating work and creating original content.
When many think of music producers, they think of the person inside a soundproof booth playing with mixing boards and computer equipment to engineer sound. This is often a large part of a music producer’s responsibilities. Any classes that will increase your understanding in computers and recording equipment, such as communication technology and computer courses, are essential.
What some aspiring music producers don’t realize is how pivotal the business aspect of the industry is. The success of a piece of recorded work is not only measured by its artistic merit, but by its saleable qualities as well. Creating a hit record that sells well can be the result of understanding what makes a hit, but also managing the financial and marketing aspect of the piece. Classes focused on economics, finance, business, public relations, advertising and marketing can also be beneficial to this career path.
Try enrolling in arts courses at your high school. All of these courses have something to offer that can help you in your career, as well as help you to get comfortable with the demonstration of artistic expression that is essential to “make it” in the music industry. For example, drama classes are all about production and even require sound engineers for recordings and live music. Language art classes will help you with composition, which can be useful when writing lyrics. Visual arts classes can help with abstract thinking and communication of ideas that is needed in the recording industry.
Understanding the foundations of music is essential to a skilled music producer. This knowledge can be developed in high school through many courses, such as music appreciation, music history or musical theory. If your school is fortunate enough to have a well-developed music curriculum, use this to enhance your career. Otherwise, seek out classes and programs outside of school that will help you in your career.
Similar to music courses, signing up for the school band, orchestra or studying an instrument in class can be a very useful activity. Many music producers are actually established musicians themselves, often called in to work with recording artists to create original work or provide supplementary tracks to a song or album.
Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.