Do you have to go to college in order to become a music producer?

No doubt, there are people in your life telling you that you MUST go to college in order to be successful in life. It seems there are still some who haven't realized that college isn't what it once was, and that today, it more resembles a scam than a legitimate path for advancement.

College is NOT necessary for becoming a music producer today. In fact, it may actually be a hinderance. The reality is that college is a scam selling the lie that one must shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars if they want to be "successful" in life, which just isn't true.

 

And I say all of this as someone who did go to college (two different ones actually). 

Not only that, but I started college with already an entire semester of college completed while I was still in high school.

I took several college classes while I was still in high school through what is called "duel enrollment". I was able to earn high school and college credit at the same. This is just one of the many benefits of homeschooling.

This worked out great for me as I was able to get admitted into the honors program at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, which was called the "Fisher Direct" program.

So I'm not coming at this question from the perspective of someone who failed college and is now trying to discredit it. 

I had probably one of the best possible college experiences...

And yet after one year at Ohio State, I realized that college was taking me in a direction I didn't want to go. 

So I willfully dropped out, and moved clear across the country to Florida, where I ended up finding trade school called Unity Gain Recording Institute in Fort Myers. 

It was from this school that I ended up graduating in 2019 with a degree in audio engineering.

And yet, I still say that you don't need to go to college to become a music producer. 

In fact, I think for most people, college is a scam.

Here's why...

Is Schooling Required To Be A Music Producer?

do you have to go to college to be a music producer

The simple answer is no. You do not need to go to college in order to become a music producer because there are plenty of successful music producers out there who don't have a degree.

In fact, there are plenty of well-known and successful music producers who never stepped foot in a college classroom. Calvin Harris, for example, is one of the most successful DJs in the world and he has zero college education.

Skrillex is another example of a hugely successful producer who didn't have any formal schooling in music production. He is completely self-taught.

So if you're thinking about skipping college in order to pursue a career in music production, know that you are in good company! 

If You Want To Be A Music Producer, You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

The biggest reason you don't need to go to college in order to become a music producer is because, at its core, being a music producer is an entrepreneurial endeavor, and colleges teach you how to be compliant employees, not entrepreneurs.

The reason you need to think of yourself as an entrepreneur if you want to be a music artist is simple:

You need to understand and implement digital marketing to be successful. 

Even if you get signed to a record deal (which is unlikely unless you've already built-up a fanbase through marketing) record labels are going to want you to do a large portion of the marketing. 

Gone are the days where you can just get signed, sit back, and let the record label do all of the work (unless you are in the top 1% of artists in the world). 

I'm not trying to put you down, but your best chance at success as a music artist is to land in the music middle class, where you can comfortably make 6-figures, or even 7-figures, as a music artist...

Without being famous or even most people knowing who you are. 

There are more artists and producers entering this middle class all the time, and they are doing it by learning online marketing and becoming entrepreneurs. 

do you have to go to college to be a music producer

With this in mind, college doesn't make any sense because colleges are teaching out-dated information, and certainly aren't teaching people how to entrepreneurs. 

I know because I went to a large university and was majoring in marketing, yet nothing I was being taught was relevant to my goals of owning my own businesses, so I left college and just started learning digital marketing on my own, which eventually became my full-time job. 

But don't take my word for it. Here's what one of the best marketers in the world has to say about college...

"There's not a school on Earth, not a university or college that exists, that is even remotely equipped, to educate you properly, on communications and marketing, in the world we live in today...[College is a] business that is going to sell you a s%#t product."

I'm not a fan of everything Gary says, but he's spot on here about college.

Gary even goes on to compare college to extortion if you are going into debt. You can watch the full short video below.

As an entrepreneur, you are in charge of your own destiny. You are the one who decides how hard you work, what obstacles you overcome, and how successful you ultimately become.

And the best part is that anyone can be an entrepreneur. You don't need some fancy piece of paper from a college to tell you that you can do it.

All you need is the willingness to work hard and the belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

So if your goal is to become a music producer, then your focus should be on building your business, not on getting a college degree. 

Think about what kind of business you could build it you had tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest? 

What's that? You don't have that kind of money? Yet why are we going into debt and paying this much for college when we could instead invest a faction of that, not go into debt, and see a better return on our investment?

If you're still not sure if you can really make a living as a musician, read my article here.

Or...

If you want to see the full picture for how to make a living from your music, read my article here.

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College Is A Scam (For Most People)

The reality is college is simply unnecessary for most jobs, including becoming a music producer.

The other reason you don't need to go to college in order to become a music producer is because, quite frankly, college is a scam.

It's no secret that the cost of college has been skyrocketing in recent years, while the quality of education has been declining.

In fact, a recent study found that nearly 41.4% of college graduates are underemployed, meaning they are working in jobs that don't require a college degree.

This means 41.4% of college graduates completed wasted their money and went into debt for nothing! 

On top of that, the average student loan debt is now over $37,000!

So if you're thinking about going to college in order to become a music producer, you might want to reconsider. You could easily end up spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education that won't do anything to help you in your career.

Invest Your Time And Money Elsewhere.

If you're serious about becoming a music producer, the best thing you can do is invest your time and money elsewhere.

College Can Be A Hinderance To Music Production

College can actually be a hindrance when it comes to music production because you acquire massive debt and waste so much time. College is time-consuming, and it can take away from the time you need to be spending honing your craft.

Not only will you be forced to take classes that have nothing to do with your major, but colleges today are teaching increasingly radical ideologies and trying to brainwash students in Marxist and far-left teachings. 

I was forced to attend a number of these brainwashing classes, and they have absolutely nothing to do with getting a job, starting a business, or building a music career.

If you're serious about becoming a music producer, you need to spend a lot of time working on your music. It's been theorized that you need to spend 10,000 hours in a task, trade, discipline, etc., in order to become an expert in it. 

That's not possible when you're also trying to juggle classes, homework, possibly a job, and a social life.

Many college students find that their grades suffer when they try to balance school with their musical ambitions. So it's not surprising that more and more people are choosing to forgo college in favor of pursuing their music careers full-time.

By the way, if you want help with writing songs faster, check out my article here.

College Is A Bubble (Not The Real World)

It's also important to remember that college is a bubble. It's not the real world. In college, you're sheltered from the harsh realities of life. You have professors who spoon-feed you information, and you're graded on a curve so that just about everyone passes.

In 1960 colleges awarded "A's" to 15% of students. Today, it's 45%, and it's not because people have magically gotten smarter. 

I don't agree with everything Bill Maher says and believes, but he hits the nail on the head about college when he says...

"College is a racket...especially since colleges have turned into giant luxury day-care centers with overpaid babysitters anxious to indulge every students whim. Colleges are businesses, selling a consumer product for hundreds of thousands of dollars and they want to give the customers what they want...a magical piece of paper called a diploma."

The real world is not like that. In the real world, you're going to be competing against people who are just as talented (or more so) than you are. And if you don't have what it takes to make it, you're going to fail.

That's not to say that college degrees are completely useless. They can still be helpful in some cases, such as getting a job in a traditional corporate setting. But when it comes to music production, they're often more of a hindrance than a help.

What To Do Instead Of College To Become A Music Producer

So if college isn't the answer, what should you do instead? There are a few different options you can consider...

1. Invest In Online Courses 

do you have to go to college to be a music producer

These days, you can find online courses on just about any topic, including music production. I even have my own courses that I've created!

Investing in an online course is a great way to learn everything you need to know about music production without having to go through the expense and hassle of college. Plus, you can study at your own pace and work around your own schedule.

This is what I did when I got started. I bought several different courses, both and music production and on how to market my music. 

2. Find A Mentor

do you have to go to college to be a music producer

You just need to find a magical music wizard mentor like this guy! J.K. A mentor could be as simple as a blogger or YouTuber who has helped you get results.

Another option is to find a mentor. A mentor is someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve, and who can help guide you on your journey.

In the "olden days", you had what were called "apprenticeships" where you could go and study under a master, learn from them, and eventually start your own trade. 

For example, if you wanted to be a baker, you didn't go to a school, read books, and sit in a stuffy classroom to learn how to bake from professors who have never baked themselves (or haven't in a log time)...

No, you would go find a baker, and study under him or her until you were good enough to start your own bakery. 

This practice has largely disappeared, but it seems to be gaining in popularity.  

This is an incredible way to learn, and it can speed up your progress dramatically.

I also was able to participate in an apprenticeship under a master audio engineer who has been working in the music industry since the late 1970's, and who has owned his own commercial recording studio for decades. 

I'm talking about Anthony Iannucci, the owner of Unity Gain Recording Institute where I graduated from. 

I know, that sounds like college, and technically, Unity Gain is a college, as it is accredited by the sate, and I earned a real diploma. 

But from a practical standpoint, it was a lot more like an apprenticeship than a college experience for several reasons:

  • I only had 4 to 5 other students in my class, so it was easy to get one-on-one attention and ask questions
  • I learned in a REAL recording studio with ACTUAL equipment that is used to record artists
  • I was able to record many different bands, and not just learn about recording bands in a classroom
  • In other words, I did real, hands-on work and received feedback from an actual master who is actually DOING what he is teaching

So I was able to get the apprenticeship experience, while also earning a degree. 

3. Practice Intentionally

My final piece of advice is to simply do a lot of music production, and to practice intentionally. 

Understand where your weaknesses, and work on improving. 

Commit to a consistent schedule of music production so you can actually improve and make progress. 

If you want some practical tips on the fastest way to learn music production on your own, then read my article here. 

If you're serious about becoming a music producer, there's no need to go to college. There are far better ways to invest your time and money. So don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You can achieve your musical dreams without spending four years (and a fortune) on a degree.

What's The Best Way To Become A Music Producer?

The best way to become a music producer is to start working on building your business today.

Invest in some quality production equipment and courses, find a mentor (it could even be an online mentor like this website), start making music, and then find some clients so that your music career can start to fund itself.

That's the best way to learn the ropes and to start seeing some success as a music producer.

Education =/= Schooling

do you have to go to college to be a music producer

I'm pro education, but anti-schooling.

I might be ahead of my time in saying this, but with the arrival of the digital age, I'm declaring schooling to be obsolete. Schooling is a one-size-fits-all approach with a crude method for measuring success (standardized tests). This kind of education just doesn't make sense in our modern world.

Today, education can and should be flexible, and tailored to individual students, so you're much better off investing in digital courses and/or personal coaching/mentorship. 

However, if you want to go to college, then that's fine too. But know that it isn't necessary in order to achieve your dreams.

College might have been necessary at one point in time, but that time has passed. Today, you can become a music producer without spending four years and a fortune on a college education. So if you're serious about becoming a music producer, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Do your research, invest in yourself, and go out there and make your dreams a reality. That's the best way to become a music producer.

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You'll know exactly what to do, and when, so you can quickly mix, master, and finish more tracks. 

I hope you found this post valuable!

If so, feel free to share, and let me know in the comments below…

What other questions do you have about becoming a music producer?

Reagan Ramm


Hi! I'm Reagan, and I've been writing, recording, and mixing music since 2011, and got a degree in audio engineering in 2019 from Unity Gain Recording Institute. I also work full-time in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and am striving to help fellow musicians and producers improve their art and make a living doing the work they love.

- Reagan Ramm


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Career, college, music production


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