Frequently Asked Questions

Department of Recording Industry Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in the Department of Recording Industry at MTSU?

There are more than 1,000 declared majors in Recording Industry. Approximately 50% of these students are declared Audio Production and Technology emphasis majors, 30 percent are declared Music Business emphasis majors, and 20 percent are declared Commercial Songwriting majors. 

How many graduates of the Recording Industry program gain employment after completing their degree?

It is difficult to keep tabs on all graduates of the program, but it can be estimated that approximately 70 percent of all graduates of the program are working in some area of the music or other audio production dissemination industry.

Does the Department of Recording Industry offer a program that helps graduates get jobs?

While we do not have a placement program within the department, the university does have a placement office and does offer assistance for graduates of the program utilizing such programs as Handshake and Career Shift. We also offer professional internships which, although not required for graduation, are stressed in their importance at providing students with invaluable professional experience and contact (networking) possibilities.

What is your internship program like?

The internship program is available to Juniors and Seniors and while not required in the Department of Recording Industry, it is highly encouraged. We view it as an excellent way for students in the program to "get their feet wet" in the working, professional environment of the recording industry. Most internships are not paid, but students do receive credit for the work they put in. Internships provided by the department are offered worldwide and cover all aspects of the music industry. We are constantly amazed at how many of the interns are getting hired (part-time and full-time) toward the end of their internship. Some of the employers are converting the internships to "paid" in the hopes of keeping the intern a second semester. We'd like to say that our students are well prepared as far as the music business is concerned. Our interns seem to view the internship as a privilege rather than a requirement. Since 1993 we have averaged 123 interns per year in the Music Business emphasis and 58 per year in Audio Production & Technology emphasis.

I am an international student and would like information on entering your program.

We have many international students in our program. Many of your questions will be answered by checking out the MTSU international student website.

What kind of computer, software, and hardware should I purchase?

Computer & Software
Our college uses Apple Macintosh computers, with students being encouraged to do the same. An Apple MacBook Pro laptop is strongly encouraged. Given that Avid’s Pro Tools audio software is the professional digital audio workstation (DAW) standard, laptops and computers must meet Avid’s specifications. We use the most recent Pro Tools version based on the year of the Fall semester (e.g., Pro Tools 2019 for academic year 2019-2020, Pro Tools 2020 for academic year 2020-2021). While versions are generally compatible, students are encouraged to use the same version as features may vary from year-to-year and compatibility issues may arise when transferring work between different versions.

While we strongly encourage a MacBook Pro laptop, it is possible that students can use other computers. However, we are unable to support or assist with install or compatibility issues. Specifications and a list of compatible computers can be found via this link to Avid’s site:  Pro Tools System Requirements

Computers do NOT need to meet the enhanced specifications for “Pro Tools HD” or “Pro Tools Ultimate” (e.g., don’t worry about the “PCIe slot” requirement). “Pro Tools Standard” or just simply “Pro Tools” (not “Pro Tools Free” or “Pro Tools First”) is the version students will be using on their laptops. Note that computers do not need to be the most recent model as the software is often still compatible with older computers.

Computer internal SSD hard drive storage size should be a minimum of 128 GB. 256 GB is better, but 512 GB is probably unnecessary given the cost difference since students can easily purchase an external hard drive for a fraction of the cost (while providing increased flexibility).

*Pro Tools software is available for a $100 per year subscription using educational pricing through Avid or Avid resellers. This subscription includes continuous updates. Students can also purchase an iLok (software licensing USB dongle) or have software validated through continuous internet connection (free). The earliest course students will use the software is RIM 3300 “Digital Audio Technology,” though they could use it to assist with topics in RIM 3010 “Audio Fundamentals.”

*External hard drives should be Macintosh-formatted or Macintosh-compatible if using a PC (through programs such as MacDrive).

*External audio interfaces (such as those by Avid, Focusrite, Universal Audio, etc.) are not required, though students may desire to have input and output options different than those standard on a computer.

*While students are required to have specific Sennheiser 650 model headphones (currently) for the post-candidacy RIM 4440 “Critical Listening” course, they do not need these until they are enrolled in that course (instructors may expand headphone options in the future). Students are strongly encouraged to purchase a quality pair of closed-back headphones such as those by Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, etc. Do not purchase headphones that are “bass enhanced” such as some from Sony, most Beats, etc., as these dramatically alter the ability to accurately analyze sound. 

For more information regarding required equipment for Audio Production, please click the Tech Requirements tab.

Is it required to have musical proficiency to enter the Department of Recording Industry?

No, it is not required, but strongly emphasized as may be expected of any position within the music and recording industries. For Audio Production & Technology emphasis students, a course called Musicianship for Recording Engineers is required for students not doing a minor in music. Many students enrolled in the program are talented musicians and perform in their own bands and are involved in the Society for Electronic Music, the Student Songwriting Association, the Urban Music Society and the Christian Music Society.

I am transferring into your program, how should I go about finding my advisor in the program?

Your advisor will be assigned to you once you have declared your major as Recording Industry. This will be done through the College of Media and Entertainment Advising Center.

What advice do you have to make my transfer into your program an easy one?

First, the best advice is to meet with your advisor in the College of Media and Entertainment Advising Office. A list of courses and prerequisites can be found for each major on their respective program page:  Audio Production, Music Business, and Commercial Songwriting.  To see the list of requirements for candidacy for each program, please visit the Admission to Candidacy page and click on the desired major. Also, be sure that you attend the "Customs" session offered by the university. They are designed to acquaint you with all the requirements for the program and the overall expectations of the university.

What is the Give Me a Beat Learning Community?

Freshman Recording Industry and Media and Entertainment majors are invited to join the Give Me a Beat Learning Community, designed to build camaraderie and provide a support network for new majors in those areas. Home for this group is in the Deere and Nick Halls.

All students in this community enroll in the same section of JOUR/EMC/RIM 1020, American Media and Social Institutions (RIM 1020 is required of all Recording Industry majors). The course examines mass communication processes; media as social, cultural, and economic institutions that shape the values of American society, its political dialogues, its social practices, and institutions.

This group living experience brings together students with a common interest. Members have said that this environment meets their educational and social needs more fully than other types of housing because of its emphasis on organized activities.

To apply for the Give Me A Beat Community, indicate your choice under Learning Communities, Give Me a Beat Community, on your housing application.

For information on housing and learning communities at MTSU, please visit Housing and Residential Life.

Is there a graduate program?
Two graduate programs are offered: 

The Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies offers preparation for advanced work in audio production, recording, and integrated electronic media. Coursework helps students develop a strong foundation in audio production and an understanding of the theoretical concepts of closely related disciplines. The program is designed to foster creativity and features a strong technical component utilizing the latest advancements in software and hardware. A diverse range of technical and artistic projects are produced, culminating in a final project of professional caliber. The degree plan also offers preparation for select graduates to teach at the postsecondary level in the field of audio recording and production. Creativity is one of the primary qualities sought in new students for the six-semester program. This creative background may be in audio engineering or in a field closely related to what might be described as "entertainment technology."  For more information, please visit their webpage, Master of Fine Arts. 
With an MBA with a Music Business concentration, students focus on important legal and economic issues that affect those in the music industry, including artists, record companies, representatives, and promoters. Music Business courses at MTSU include Revenues, Rights, and Professions; Music Entrepreneurship and Strategic Planning, Legal Rights of the Creative Individual, and Entertainment Branding. For more information, please visit Careers in Music Business with an M.B.A

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