McNally Smith College of Music

Discover your life in music

Earn Your Degree in Music Production
2 and 4 year programs available
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Music Production

The Music Production program is designed to give you a solid foundation of audio engineering skills and develop your unique sound as a music producer. Through individualized instruction, you’ll learn to master the art of recording and gain essential skills in microphone placement, mixing, mastering, post-production (radio, film, and TV), electrical engineering, and studio design.

With a strong background in analog and digital recording technology, combined with core skills in songwriting, music theory, and arranging, you’ll be ready for success in a variety of career paths.

Ready For The Real World

As a Music Production major you’ll receive a hands-on education that prepares you for the real world. You’ll get to run recording sessions and sharpen your skills by working in state-of-the-art facilities. You’ll hone your craft by collaborating with Songwriting, Composition, Business, and Performance majors on real projects. You’ll discover how to capture great tones in the studio for every instrument. During your time in the program you’ll create a portfolio of work that showcases your talent and highlights your technical and creative abilities. This audio resume will help sell your work to future clients.

You’ll also get a head start on your music career by building your professional network while still in school. And with access to guest artists and internships, you’re connected to the industry before you even graduate.

Teaching For Tomorrow

To thrive as an audio professional, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of music and media. That’s why our Music Production degree program focuses on developing your creativity and musicianship while giving you the necessary technology skills to compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped with the entrepreneurial concepts and business strategies you’ll need to reach your goals and establish your career.

With a comprehensive education that blends artistry, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll be ready to make and sustain a life in music.

Your Career Path

Graduates of the Music Production program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:

  • Music Producer
  • Recording Engineer
  • Acoustician/Studio Designer
  • Mastering Engineer
  • Sound Designer (animation, film, video games, commercials)
  • Broadcast Engineer
  • App Developer

 Studios & Facilities

Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.

Student Life

There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Auditorium hosts student recitals, guest artist concerts and music industry seminars year round. MIDI Lab. Students learn to write and produce music using hardware and software, including Logic Pro. Pro Tools Lab. Students learn editing, mixing and production techniques using the latest software. One of the multipurpose classrooms used for rehearsing bands, teaching music theory and songwriting. The Sound Bite Café features an intimate performance setting for small ensembles, guest artists and workshops. The 48-input SSL Duality console in Studio 1, with a view into the main performance area. Studio 1. 48-input SSL Duality hybrid analog-digital console; Barefoot MicroMain 27 monitors. Studio 4 features a Digidesign ICON D-Command Work surface and 5.1 surround mixing system. Studio 5. Trident 80B analog console; Otari MTR-90 24-track analog recorder; Pro Tools HD2 system. Studio 10 main performance area. Studio 10 features three racks of outboard mic preamplifiers, compressors, equalizers, and limiters.
Many artists have launched their careers at First Avenue, Minnesota’s quintessential music venue. The Theater Ensemble performs rock musical RENT at the History Theatre located on campus. At The Sessions master class, industry pros like Dom Famularo help artists sharpen their business skills. EDM artist/producer Francis Preve demonstrates remix techniques using Ableton Live during a master class. The X-Tet Ensemble studies traditional cajón technique in Lima, Peru during their South American tour. Concertgoers get the full Flaming Lips experience at River’s Edge Music Festival, downtown St. Paul. The NOLA Ensemble performs authentic New Orleans-style jazz at an Open House event. The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble performs onstage in McNally Smith’s Auditorium. Music Business students plan, promote and execute a SXSW day party in Austin, TX. Students pause for a photo-op while guiding campus tours at Open House. Taking a break during the McNally Smith kickball tournament at nearby Harriet Island, St. Paul.

FacultyView All Faculty >>

Christopher Blood

Christopher Blood has covered a lot of ground in his two decades in the recording industry. Starting off as a drummer in a local rock band, Blood worked his way up the studio ranks, recording several of the premier artists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 1997 he became co-owner of A440 Studios. In nearly a decade at A440, Blood recorded and produced countless albums for top local and major label artists. He has also worked in a number of the top recording studios around the country, including Stankonia in Atlanta (Outkast’s studio) and Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.

In 2006, Blood started a new chapter in his recording career opening the Twin Cities-based Sonic Edge Studios, where he continues to work with top local, national and international talent. He is also very active in the live sound scene and has been a design and operations consultant for recording studios in Minnesota, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas. Blood’s recording credits and clients include: Atmosphere, Next, Juvenile, Mr. Cheeks, James Grear and Co, Big Walter Smith, Lil’ Romeo, Eyedea & Abilities, Brother Ali, Unknown Prophets, Black Flood Diesel, Anderson Windows, MN Dot, Boulder Buddy’s, Sony Records, No Limit Records, Universal Records and Rhymesayers Entertainment.

Joe Mabbot

Joe Mabbott was raised in a musical family, and began his life in music as a drummer at the age of 2. He grew up as a performer, and after high school he felt it was time to turn his passion into a career. After graduating from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix, Mabbot relocated to Minneapolis in February 1995, and accepted an assistant engineer position at Trail Mix Studios — then primarily known for its work in post-production for the television and film industry. After four years at Trail Mix working on a vast array of commercials and short films, as well as numerous album projects (wearing many hats, including engineer, mixer, editor, sound designer, drummer and percussionist) he started freelance engineering around the Twin Cities at a number of studios.

In 2001, after two years of steady freelance work, Trail Mix Studios hired Mabbot back full time as manager and head engineer of the facility. In 2003, he bought out the studio and renamed it The Hideaway. His experience and style lured many of Minneapolis’ top hip-hop and indie rock acts, immediately establishing The Hideaway as a favorite of local artists. Mabbot’s work with national and international artists like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Cloud Cult, Golden, Heiruspecs, I Self Devine, The Plastic Constellations, 5 Mile Chase, and many others has turned the Hideaway into one of the Twin Cities’ most reputable and successful studios.

Tuition

We offer 2- and 4-year degrees in Music Production, giving you options for a degree that fits with your plans and budget.

$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)

  • Bachelor’s degree: 120 credits
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits

$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>

Financial Aid

On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.

Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.

Gainful Employment Statistics


Accreditation

McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>

Mix Lab I

Students are introduced to Pro Tools software and advanced functions of the College’s Trident mixing console. Through a series of hands-on exercises, students learn basic mixing techniques by exploring essential concepts like dynamics and time-based effects.

Record Lab I

Students study signal flow as it relates to the recording studio and equipment. Emphasis is placed on console design and operation with students participating in hands-on exercises and demonstrations. Microphone design and application are also examined throughout experiential studio sessions.

Artistry in Production

Students explore the musicianship, aesthetics and artistry of modern music production from the 1950s to the present day. Stylistic trends, the influence of technological innovations, and the impact of leading pioneers throughout the history of music production are examined, with an emphasis placed on the interrelationship between technology and popular music.

Project Management for Producers

This course examines a variety of project management techniques that can be applied in music production and audio recording contexts. Students explore management issues associated with traditional artist-released projects and commercial production systems, like project initiation, workflow planning, budgeting, and project delivery, as well as a variety of related communication tools.