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Music Production & Recording Arts

The fusion of creative arts and technology

Elon’s music production and recording arts program is designed to nurture the fundamental skills of musicianship while teaching students how to apply the tools of technology to music composition, performance, recording, editing, production and promotion. Experienced faculty take a hands-on approach to learning, giving students the tools that they need to excel in this growing field. 

Elon’s emphasis on liberal arts and sciences education provides music production and recording arts majors with the ability to think critically and communicate persuasively. By the time you graduate, you will have established an impressive résumé of challenging coursework and real-life experiences that will help you succeed in professional and academic settings. 

“The fastest-growing segment of the music industry is in technology. ... An instructional focus that gives someone the direct knowledge they need to be one step ahead in this competitive environment is invaluable.”

Jim Boitnott ’98

Vice President of Business Development, Notion Music

Challenging curriculum

All music majors take core classes in music theory, aural skills and history. Music production and recording arts majors expand their expertise through courses such as Critical Listening, Technology in Composition & Arranging, The Physics of Sound, Digital Media Convergence and Audio for Sound Media. They also build a portfolio of projects they have created in hands-on seminar courses. 

Electives allow music production and recording arts students to tailor the curriculum to their individual interests and career goals, with options drawn from subjects such as multimedia authoring, engineering, business, art, communications, computing sciences and physics. As a music production and recording artsmajor, you will also get to work with impressive visiting performers, composers, and arrangers who lead workshops, performances and master classes. 

To help students transition to a successful career, students are required to complete at least one professional internship. These may be in the fields of entertainment, commercial media, film, education, software/hardware design or other areas of student interest. These opportunities give students real-world experience and allow them to make meaningful professional contacts that can lead to full-time jobs. 

Opportunities abound

From the moment you step on campus, you will be given opportunities to develop your musical talent and gain skills in performance, composition, arranging and music production. You can participate in any of Elon’s excellent ensembles, which have toured throughout Europe and Russia and along the eastern seaboard during Elon’s winter term. The ensembles include:

  • Orchestra
  • Camerata
  • Chorale
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Electric Ensemble
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Opera Workshop
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Fire of the Carolinas (marching band)
  • élan (vocal jazz)
  • Pep Band
  • Numerous chamber groups and jazz combos.

Hands-on learning

Elon’s Department of Music is housed in the Center for the Arts, a 75,000-square-foot facility boasting numerous concert Steinway grand pianos; McCrary Theatre, a large, fully equipped theatre and concert hall; Yeager Recital Hall; and modular practice rooms and studios. Historic Whitley Auditorium houses a new Casavant pipe organ and a Steinway grand piano.

Our facilities include a recording studio and mixing/mastering suite running industry-standard Pro Tools and Logic Studio. The studio includes isolation booths for vocal and instrumental recording and outboard gear, such as a vintage Moog analog synthesizer, Kawai Sampler and tube preamp. The department also has a fully equipped music technology lab featuring new 88-key semi-weighted keyboards and a sound isolation booth. The lab also houses 23 Quad Core Mac Pro digital audio workstations with dual 22-inch flat-panel monitors, Oxygen 49 MIDI Controllers, M-Audio USB MobilePre preamp/audio interfaces and ShuttlePro. The stations run Pro Tools, Logic Express, Digital Performer, Sibelius, Garage Band, Auralia and other software tools relating to audio production, ear training and music theory. 

The department recently added a 400-square-foot tracking room to the recording studio, and installed a new 32-channel digital recording/mixing system and eight-channel digital monitoring system. 

The music production and recording arts program also partners with the School of Communications, giving students access to additional recording and production facilities for larger ensemble recordings. 

Experienced Faculty

The Department of Music faculty combine a passion for teaching with a vast range of composing, performing, and production experience. 

Todd Coleman’s (composition, music technology and multimedia Art) music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and university ensembles throughout the United States, with commissions for orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber music and electronic music. He earned his M.M. and D.M.A. in composition at the Eastman School of Music studying with Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse and Augusta Read Thomas. Much of Coleman’s creative work blurs the boundaries between artistic disciplines, exploiting the intersection of technology and the arts. 

Tony Sawyer (music technology and percussion) has performed throughout the United States with many groups, including the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, Cobb Symphony and Durham Choral Society. He has also served as an arranger and instructor for high school and college marching percussion sections across the country for more than 25 years. 

Stephen Futrell (choral) has appeared throughout the United States and Europe as a vocalist, trumpeter, writer, arranger, producer and on-screen talent. His experience includes being a featured vocalist at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as serving as a music producer for DreamWorks Animation SKG. He also recently discovered, edited and had published three choral works by Anna Amalia von Sachsen.

After graduation

A degree in music production and recording arts can prepare you for a variety of careers that combine the art of music with the application of technology. Examples of careers include:

  • Composing and performing
  • Film score composer
  • Songwriter
  • Video game sound composer
  • Commercial composer for TV, radio, corporate videos, etc.
  • Studio/Sound Engineering
  • Recording engineer
  • Producer
  • Multimedia developer
  • Music educator with technology emphasis
  • College music technology instructor
  • Technical support.

Elon’s music production and recording arts alumni have also entered graduate programs at the most prestigious music conservatories in the world, including:

  • The Eastman School of Music
  • Juilliard School of Music
  • Peabody Conservatory of Music
  • Boston Conservatory
  • New York University.

Visit the Department of Music Website.

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