Undergraduate Degree in Recording Arts
Becoming a recording arts major is the best bet for international students who want to find a successful career in this booming industry. An undergraduate degree in recording arts serves three goals. It provides a broad foundation on which to build a career in recording arts, offers a springboard into a variety of careers in the recording arts, and can be a starting point for graduate level study.
Obtaining an undergraduate degree has almost become a necessity in the modern world. Even for fun, seemingly non-academic fields like recording arts, an undergraduate degree is becoming a must-have for any career in the field. Whether your dream job is a record producer, a film audio mixer, or a video game designer, companies across the world are looking for students with at least an undergraduate degree in recording arts. Becoming a recording arts major is the best bet for international students who want to find a successful career in this booming industry.
Though every undergraduate degree in recording arts is unique in some way, most programs offer a fairly similar undergraduate experience. Students will take a set of standardized courses during their first year or two, and then they will proceed into more specialized courses for their final years. All programs are heavily hands-on and most culminate in some sort of final project.
Like any college major, a recording arts major at most large schools will take a broad foundational set of courses on which they will build later skills. These include courses on the basics of mathematics, the physical sciences, acoustics, and music theory. These four areas form the groundwork for just about all specializations within recording arts. International students should be aware that programs that are modeled on the liberal arts might also require preliminary coursework in music history, the art of television, music performance, or other classes that overlap with the humanities. In these programs these courses serve to provide the undergraduate with useful context for their field and to accentuate the creative element behind recording arts.
The upperclassmen coursework for an undergraduate degree in recording arts is more specialized in focus. Somewhere around the end of their sophomore year, students will decide whether they want to focus in on the science of recording arts, the art of recording arts, the technology of recording arts, or some combination of the three. Beyond that, depending on the school, students should have some idea whether they want to pursue music, film and TV, video games, or something other for their specialization. The advanced coursework includes classes on specific recording technology, the art of digital mastering, film post-production, or the psychology of interactive sound, just to name a few.
Throughout the entire degree program, a recording arts major will partake in hands-on learning. Lab work is a common feature of many fields, and recording arts is no exception. Unlike chemistry labs, though, recording arts labs feature sound boards, recording spaces, and state-of-the-art computer hardware and software. Having these tools at their disposal, students can learn and train on the same equipment as professionals. In some more specialized schools, students will actually get to work in live, active recording studios on real-world projects. International students should do research into potential schools to find the program that best matches their interests.
Finally, most undergraduate recording arts programs culminate in some sort of final project. In a student's senior year he or she is often expected to produce an intricate portfolio or a full-fledged recording project. Some schools also require an internship during a student's final year. These final projects give students the opportunity to put everything they've learned together, and they also serve to help students find a job. Companies can easily see what a candidate is capable of by looking at their final project. Thus, international students that choose a recording arts major will usually leave their undergraduate program with a tangible product they can use to start their career.
Overall, an undergraduate degree in recording arts serves three goals. First, it provides a broad foundation on which to build a career in recording arts. Second, it offers a springboard into a variety of careers in the recording arts. And third, it can be a starting point for graduate level study of the recording arts. As always, international students should consider what they want to get out of a recording arts program before they apply. Some schools are highly specialized and will provide an exceptionally narrowed track toward a specific career goal. These schools are great for students who know exactly what they want to do. Other schools offer a broader approach to recording arts that allows students to choose from a variety of education and career paths. These schools are much better fits for students who have interest in recording arts, but may not know yet what exactly they want to do. Ultimately, the decision is yours and the goals that matter are your own.