Looking for music production schools in California? Then you are on the right page. Music production is a popular career choice for many aspiring professionals, but it isn’t always easy to figure out where to go to get the training you need.
The following list makes things easier by showcasing some of California’s best audio engineering and music production college programs and their rankings.
If you are interested in attending one of these music production schools in California, take a look at this list and see which one fits your needs best.
Why Study Music Production?
Why should you study music production?
If you want to become a producer, it’s the only way. A degree in music production can get you started on your career path and put you at an advantage over anyone else who doesn’t have one. Having a degree in any field is important if you want to make money and get ahead in life.
What can I do with Music Production?
There are many different jobs available for people who have studied music production at school or learned on their own through self-study programs like some offered by the music production schools in California that you will find on this list.
You’ll be able to work as an engineer for recording studios or television shows like Saturday Night Live (SNL), Seinfeld, and CSI Miami.
Working in the music production industry, you have a lot of options on what you decide you want to do with your talents. Some career paths in music production include:
- Audio Director.
- Boom Technician.
- Foley Artist.
- Mastering Engineer.
- Concert Technician.
- Music Editor.
- Mixing Engineer.
- Production Sound Mixer.
- Tour Publicist.
- Live Sound Engineer.
- Recording Engineer.
- Sound Editor.
Requirements for Becoming a Music Producer in California?
To become a music producer in California, you’ll need to get some formal training. Many different types of degrees will teach you the skills required to be successful as a music producer, including:
- Bachelor’s Degrees: These programs typically last four years and include recording studio engineering, music composition/production, and audio production programs. During your final year of study, you can apply for internships at local recording studios and television stations.
- Associate Degrees: These two-year programs are designed for people who want to work in the entertainment industry but aren’t interested in pursuing further education (like a bachelor’s degree).
If this sounds like something that would interest you, consider looking into these music production schools in California on our list.
How Much Do Music Producers in California Make?
If you have a passion for music, California is the place to pursue your dreams. It’s considered the birthplace of rock ‘n roll and home to many musicians who became famous in their own right.
A career in music production can be lucrative as well, with an average annual salary of $136,770—but it depends on where you live and what industry you choose to work for.
Highest paying cities in California for Producers: Los Angeles (1), San Jose (2), San Francisco (3), and Santa Cruz (4).
Highest paying industries: Radio and Television Broadcasting, Motion Picture, and Video Industries.
Best Audio Engineering and Music Production Schools in California
UCLA is one of the best music production schools in California with a large student body and a high employment rate (which is a well-known fact).
But is it a great option to begin your career in the music industry? What other options are there for the best music production schools in California?
Learn more in this article.
Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California
- Tuition fees: $59,260 (additional fees included).
The USC Thornton School of Music is a private university in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1884 and is home to some of the most notable composers, performers, and educators in the world. A unique aspect of this school is that it offers courses for both non-music majors and students who are currently enrolled as music majors at USC.
The school hosts an annual piano competition open to students from around the world who are studying at universities or conservatories around the world (including institutions in Europe).
The competition has two rounds: first-round auditions take place online through video submission; second-round performances take place on campus with faculty members as judges.
Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California – Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $36,787 per term.
The Herb Alpert School of Music, located on the campus of UCLA, is an undergraduate and graduate school offering programs in music education, composition, performance, and theory. The school offers both bachelor’s degrees (BMus) as well as master’s degrees (MM) through its Department of Ethnomusicology.
In addition to being located near many famous landmarks such as Hollywood Boulevard and Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park (about 10 miles away), the school features two main performance facilities: Royce Hall and Zipper Concert Hall.
The LA Recording School
- Tuition fees: $38,525.
If you are interested in becoming a professional recording artist, engineer, or sound designer, then the Los Angeles Recording School may be the music production school for you. The school offers comprehensive training in audio and music production, and music business with an emphasis on learning by doing.
Students receive hands-on training from experienced industry professionals who have worked with Grammy Award-winning artists from around the world.
You will learn how to use pro tools and workflows used by professional engineers in large studios as well as small projects studios such as home recording studios.
Icon Collective, Burbank
- Tuition fees: $27,555.
Icon Collective is among the top-rated music production schools in California. They offer a twelve-month program for music producers. Icon Collective students have access to a full studio with large format consoles, computers, microphones, and outboard gear.
Icon Collective has produced for Grammy Award-winning artists such as Kendrick Lamar, and Dom Kennedy. The school offers hands-on instruction from industry professionals who will teach you how to produce records from start to finish by giving you real-life experience in the studio environment.
IO Music Academy, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $1,425 for a single course.
IO Music Academy is a private institution that offers courses in music production and audio technology. It’s located in Los Angeles, California. IO Music Academy has a total student population of approximately 150 students. Students are offered a variety of programs to choose from including:
- Audio Engineering: To learn how to record and mix audio recordings for commercial or personal use.
- DJ Production Skills: To develop skills needed for creating original beats and tracks.
Fullerton College Music Department, Fullerton
- Tuition fees: $46 per unit for resident students. $258 per unit for non-resident students. Also, note that prices may vary.
Fullerton College Music Department provides a music production program in California convenient for residents of Fullerton. It’s a community college that offers an Associate degree and a certificate of completion for music production.
Fullerton College Music Department offers coursework in many areas including:
- Audio Engineering,
- Digital Audio Recording, and
- Live Sound Mixing.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Tuition fees: As much as $51,300 annually.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The city is known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and natural beauty.
When compared to other music production schools in California, the school has a distinguished faculty and a good reputation among music industry professionals.
It offers a Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Recording Arts (MPRA) with an emphasis on live sound production techniques, including recording techniques related to both analog and digital technologies.
Students are also prepared for careers in other aspects of the music industry such as teaching or administration courses that cover such topics as jazz theory, business practices, and record label management.
California College of Music, Pasadena
- Tuition fees: $32,600 in the first year, $24,450 in the second and third years, and $16,300 in the fourth year (for undergraduate studies).
California College of Music is a music and recording school based in Los Angeles, CA that offers programs such as Advanced Audio Engineering, Songwriting, and Music Production.
At California College of Music, you can choose from several different program types including certificate programs, Associate’s degrees, and Bachelor’s degrees.
Musicians Institute, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $24,795.
Whether you want to study music production at home or on campus, Musicians Institute gives students the chance to work with industry professionals who are always available for advice and guidance.
The school also offers internships and other opportunities for hands-on experience in the field.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco
- Tuition fees: $24,664.
With two campuses located in San Francisco and Sacramento, the Academy of Art University is one of the largest private universities in California. Additionally, it doubles as one of the best music production schools in California too. The university offers a wide range of programs—ranging from design to business.
Academy of Art University prides itself on its unique approach to teaching its students how to become successful artists.
Rather than focusing exclusively on technical skills like painting or drawing techniques, students are taught how to communicate their ideas effectively through various mediums including multimedia productions such as movies or video games.
San Jose School of Music
- Tuition fees: $19,732.
The San Jose School of Music offers a certificate program in music production. This school is a non-profit, which means it is not owned by shareholders who want to make money off of students’ tuition. Rather, the school’s mission is education and community building—it exists solely to provide affordable training for people who want to learn how to become better at making music.
The school is also accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), which makes it highly reputable in the field. In addition to its certificate programs, this school offers financial aid and other services that make it easier for low-income students or those without a lot of family support to attend school full time without having their lives disrupted too much by having less time or money available.
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia
- Tuition fees: $54,440 annually (for 4 years).
CalArts offers a competitive music production program in California. It offers a variety of programs that are aimed at teaching students how to create music. The faculty at the school includes musicians who teach classes on composition and improvisation respectively.
The cost of attendance for tuition is around $37k per year (in-state), which makes it one of the most expensive music production schools in California on this list by far.
However, if you qualify for any financial aid then that could lower your costs significantly.
Oakland School for the Arts, Oakland
- Tuition fees: Not Specified.
The Oakland School for the Arts is a public charter school that serves students in grades 6-12. The school offers a wide range of music courses on both vocal and instrumental instruments. These include piano, guitar, drums, and stringed instruments as well as voice training.
The school prides itself on its small class sizes where each student receives individual attention from their teachers and tutors who are all highly qualified musicians themselves with years of experience working in the industry.
They also have access to state-of-the-art recording facilities where students can record their creations professionally for submission into competitions like Grammy’s or American Idol auditions etc., depending on their chosen area of expertise at OSA.
Garnish Music Production School, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $3,999 + $200 registration fee.
Garnish Music Production School is among the full-service audio and music production schools in California. It has been training students in the art of music production since its inception, and today offers courses ranging from basic music theory to advanced songwriting and beat making.
The focus at Garnish is on hands-on skills, so you’ll learn how to use industry-standard software like Logic Pro X and Ableton Live as well as industry-standard instruments, and synthesizers. In addition to these tools, Garnish has a state-of-the-art recording studio with a large live room and a vocal booth where students can practice their craft while refining their skills under the guidance of some of Southern California’s top instructors.
Recording Connection Institute, Los Angeles and Sacramento
- Tuition fees: $12,860.
Recording Connection Institute offers a music production program that teaches recording, mixing, and production. The school is located in Los Angeles, but it offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about music across the country by offering classes at its other campuses.
ProMedia Training Center, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $500 – $6,500.
ProMedia Training Center is one of the most affordable vocational music production schools in California. Located in Los Angeles, California, this school provides a wide variety of training including music production and recording.
Some degree programs offered by this school include Audio Engineering, Music Business, Songwriting, and Music Production.
Some student facilities at ProMedia Training Center include:
- Music studios with state-of-the-art equipment.
- Professional level mixing consoles and audio interfaces.
- Access to industry-standard software (Logic Pro X).
Pyramind Music and Audio Production Institute, San Francisco
- Tuition fees: Up to $30,995.
You can learn how to produce music at the Pyramind Music and Audio Production Institute. Unlike most online music production programs out there, this course gets personal. You get 1-on-1 training from experienced producers who will work closely with you throughout your time at the school to make your music dream come true.
Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Irvine
- Tuition fees: $11,442.
The University of California’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts is located in Irvine, California. It has a reputation as a top choice for a music production school in California. The school offers a degree in music performance and production.
Pasadena Music Academy
- Tuition fees: Not specified. Learn more by booking a free trial.
Pasadena Music Academy is one of the music production schools in California that offers a variety of courses for students at all levels. Whether you’re an aspiring musician looking to sharpen your skills or a classroom teacher interested in adding music to your curriculum, this school is sure to have something for you.
Pasadena Music Academy offers music production courses ranging from four weeks to eight months. This flexibility allows students who are unable to commit large amounts of time per week—like parents and students with day jobs—to still attend the school regularly without having their schedules dictated by classes’ set meeting times.
However, if you can commit more hours per week than what is available through this program, PMA offers longer-term programs that allow for deeper study and more comprehensive learning experiences.
Point Blank Music Production School, Los Angeles
- Tuition fees: $11,558.
Finally on our list is America’s favorite vocational school. We’re just kidding. Although Point Blank is a pretty decent music production school in California as we found. Some great reviews, sleek website design, and multiple campus locations in the US and the UK earns them their spot on this list.
If you want to study music production in California without breaking the bank, then this may be the program for you.
You will certainly enjoy your time in this school, or other music production schools in California that we listed here. These are schools that come highly recommended, in our opinion.
What to Consider When Choosing Music Production Schools in California
When choosing any of the music production schools in California, it’s important to consider the following:
- Location: Are you willing to travel to get your degree? Is it important that you stay local so that you can keep working while completing classes?
- Reputation and history of the school: Has this program been around for a long time, or is it relatively new? How well has it performed over time?
- Cost: How much will tuition cost at this institution compared with other schools in the area and/or online? What are their fees for books, supplies, and other fees associated with attending college?
- Facilities and equipment needed for your chosen coursework (if applicable): Are there any special requirements related to the equipment needed for certain courses such as recording studios or high-end computers needed for audio engineering programs.
It’s always a good idea to make sure things like these are included within cost estimates provided by each school before committing yourself to any music production school in California of your choice.
Wrapping It Up
When you’re ready to choose any of the music production schools in California, you must consider your goals and what you want out of the program.
For example, if proximity to your home is important, or if money isn’t an issue, then local schools can be an excellent choice.
If cost is a concern and/or it’s necessary to relocate for work or family reasons, then a more expensive out-of-state school may be worth considering as well.
As for curriculum:
- What types of courses does the program offer? Do they cover all aspects of music production from engineering and mixing down tracks to branding yourself as an artist? Are there any special programs that cater specifically to electronic producers or hip-hop artists?
- How much time will be devoted each day towards learning hands-on skills versus theory classes? Will most classes be taught by instructors with industry experience in the field? Or will students primarily learn from textbooks only?
When considering these questions – and many others – you will find yourself better equipped when deciding which of the music production schools in California on our list fits best with both your academic interests and career goals.
- Top Music Production Schools in California