To a certain degree, the music business in the digital age has had to shift away from traditional revenue streams. Modern musicians and composers have had to embrace new sources of income to make ends meet. Many such new sources have emerged, as well as existing areas of music work that were not always accessible to music professionals without developed industry contacts, relationships or representation.
The online Master of Music (M.M.) with an Emphasis in Music Technology – Performance Technology Emphasis program offered by Southern Utah University (SUU) is unique in the world of graduate music education, addressing the diversification of work necessary for today’s music professionals. It synthesizes practical studies in areas like music production, composition and scoring, live and studio audio technology, and the music business. This program is designed to give modern musicians the versatility needed to create a sustainable living in today’s complex music economy.
What Are the Learning Outcomes of This Degree?
Due to the comprehensive nature of SUU’s online M.M. program, the learning outcomes of this program are quite varied. Students will gain competency in practical aspects of modern music production and composition, such as digital notation and scoring, mocking up orchestrations using virtual midi instruments, and utilizing advanced audio recording and editing software for professional applications. Students will also study the fundaments of sound reinforcement, mic selection and placement, and mixing for live and studio music.
Beyond the in-depth study of these pragmatic applications, students will examine various aspects of the modern music business. This involves understanding the complexities of how music is monetized through royalties and licensing deals. Students will also become familiar with the many end users of music in today’s media like the gaming industry, film, TV and commercial production, streaming services, podcasts, etc.
This course of study ties into the exploration of many professional roles musicians and music entrepreneurs may pursue throughout various industries. And, as a large degree of modern music work is freelance or contract-based, this survey of professional applications for music and modes of monetization can help musicians focus their efforts on building diverse revenue streams according to each musician’s specific aptitudes and interests.
What Types of Jobs Can This Degree Prepare Me For?
The comprehensive nature of this master’s program means you will graduate prepared to work in a wide variety of music-related professions. The program design is particularly applicable to film score composers, film and TV music supervisors, videogame audio professionals, record producers, publishers and other music entrepreneurs.
It is difficult to quantify the earning potential of these professions because they are generally freelance, paid on a project-by-project basis. Income is largely based on how much someone works, their reputation in the industry, the scale of projects they work on and their business smarts. But the strength of this program lies in being able to apply your developed music and business acumen to a number of areas of work. Diversifying and expanding income streams can be key to maintaining steady work. Even if you choose a singular career path in music, your understanding of how music revenue streams work can help direct that career and your choices (i.e., contractual negotiations like upfront fees and advances on projects versus points on the record, royalties and other residuals).
What Kind of Student Would This Degree Appeal To?
If you are set on becoming a concert pianist or pop star, this degree may not appeal to your career aspirations. But, if you are interested in the technological and compositional aspects of modern music-making, this master’s program may be perfect for you. Those interested in audiovisual synchronization and adaptation to visual media, whether as composer, editor or music supervisor, may similarly be fascinated by coursework exploring these areas. And aspiring music entrepreneurs can jumpstart their careers through the program’s in-depth study of music business topics as related to the various revenue streams today’s music industry relies on.
As most musicians know, creating a sustainable music career in modern times is no simple matter. It takes determination, drive and resilience. And, increasingly, it takes diversifying one’s music-related skill sets. The comprehensive music education that students receive in SUU’s online M.M. in Performance Technology can provide them with the well-rounded blend of skills and business knowledge needed to take advantage of the many opportunities available to the flexible professional musician.