Frequently Asked Questions
What will I study as a Music Technology Major at MSU?
The Music Technology program at MSU is an integration of music composition, audio technology/engineering, and interdisciplinary collaboration with a particular emphasis on music for visual media.
Is Music Technology a “Recording” or “Audio Engineering” degree program?
No. Not Exactly… Studio/live recording and sound reinforcement are integral to the Music Technology degree program, and several of our graduates have gone on to pursue careers as studio/live recording and sound reinforcement engineers, however recording and audio engineering are not the sole focus of the degree. The Music Technology program at MSU is a broad-based degree program that requires and encourages students to study a broad range of areas such as music composition, sound synthesis, sound design, audio for video, sound for theater, entertainment business, etc. as well as areas/topics outside of music that provide students with the broad range of skills and experience needed to forge their own pathways in this constantly-changing field.
Is Music Technology at MSU a Music Degree?
Yes, the B.A. in Music Technology is a Music Degree housed in the School of Music and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. As a Music Major, you will study a principal instrument/voice, music theory, aural skills, keyboard skills (piano), and music history along with focused music technology courses.
What if I have a limited musical background?
If you have limited experience reading standard music notation and performing on an instrument/voice, there may be remedial work to complete. In these cases, students may be required to complete remedial coursework and/or outside lessons with a private teacher before starting the Music course sequence. For students with little to no experience reading music, the amount and level of remedial work will be determined individually for each student. Since the Music course sequence begins in the fall semester, insufficient previous preparation may necessitate an additional year for completion of the requirements for the Music Technology gate, and can lead to an extended time period until degree completion. We do however recognize that many exceptionally talented students have written music with a computer or by ear, but have less experience reading and writing music notation. The Music Technology program offers avenues for success for those students, provided they are willing to put in the time and effort it can take to address these deficiencies.
Is the Music Technology major right for me?
Professionals who achieve success in the field are self-starters who thrive on working independently, who adapt quickly to new technologies, and who can fulfill multiple roles in the process of creating music, sound, and art. Above all, the Music Technology program at MSU is designed for students with musical backgrounds who are interested in exploring how technology can be used to create new music, sound, and art in a multidiscipline-collaborative environment.
What kind of music will I write at MSU?
In the field of new media, you never say, "I don't write that." Music for new media is all about finding the right sounds for the job and the story you want to tell. Whether the job calls for aleatoric atonality, groovy trip-hop, acousmatic machine sounds, guitar-based blues, 1930s swing, nature soundscapes, or blippy digital synthesis, the composer is expected to provide it. Versatility is the name of the game. As a Music Technology major, you will be stretched beyond your comfort zone. You will design your own sounds, using both real-world recordings and electronic synthesis. You will be asked to think about sound and music in ways you might not have considered before.
What can I do with a Music Technology degree from MSU?
After graduation, students might compose and record music on independent record labels, study electronic and acoustic music in graduate school, design and operate recording studios or concert sound systems, create music and sound for film, video, theatre, television, multimedia art, computer games, and virtual environments. The B.A. in Music Technology also allows for study in areas closely related to the field. Many Music Technology students also pursue double majors/degrees or minors in business, film, photography, visual art, computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and/or physics among others. These opportunities support student career goals in multimedia art, music business/sales, hardware and musical instrument design, engineering, and installation, music software design and programing, acoustical design, and other scientific and/or musical endeavors.
Are scholarships available for Music Technology students?
Yes, the School of Music offers scholarships based on instrumental/vocal performance auditions. Scholarships are also available through the University based on academic performance and/or financial need. More information can be found at: http://www.montana.edu/music/scholarships.
What is the "Music Technology Pre-Major"?
Like certain other majors at MSU, the Music Technology major requires each entering student to declare a pre-major and complete an initial course sequence before applying for the major (first year of study). This gate is necessary to ensure that upper-level students have sufficient studio time and individual instruction, and to manage enrollment in School of Music courses. Yearly, a maximum of sixteen (16) students are admitted past the gate and may declare a major in Music Technology.
Required Pre-Gate Courses (first year of study)
- MUSI 105 and 106 - Music Theory I and II
- MUSI 135 and 136 - Keyboard Skills I and II
- MUSI 140 and 141 - Aural Perception I and II
- MUST 115 - Introduction to Digital Music
- MUST 125 - MIDI and Electro-Acoustic Composition
All students must achieve appropriate placement in performance study prior to the gate. Placement in applied lessons will be at the sole determination of the studio professor. Students with less previous experience are responsible for obtaining preparatory instruction and basic music-reading skills to reach the level of proficiency to be accepted into a applied studio on their principal instrument or voice. Beginning guitarists must achieve one of the following prior to the gate: successful completion of MUSI 161 with a grade of C or higher, or acceptance to MUSI 260 by audition, or acceptance to MUSI 195 by audition. Pianists must complete Keyboard Skills 1 & 2 with a grade of A- or higher, or qualify for acceptance into an applied studio by audition.
Each spring, any Music Technology Pre-Major who has successfully completed pre-gate courses and achieved placement in the appropriate performance course may submit an application and portfolio for the gate. Successful completion is defined as a grade of "C" or better, with an average of "C" or better in each of the Theory sequence pairs (MUSI 105 & 106 and MUSI 140 & 141). Consistent progress toward graduation requires a grade of C or better in all music & related courses. The Music Technology program currently admits a maximum of sixteen (16) Pre-Majors past the gate who may declare the Music Technology Major.
Evaluation for the gate is based on three components:
- GPA in the pre-gate course sequence
- Composition portfolio submitted with the application
- Service credits for participation and volunteerism in the pre-gate year.
Can you help me record my band or myself?
The Music Technology program is not a commercial studio or a recording service. Due to rapid growth in the School of Music, and the resulting demands on our staff and resources, our School Director has established policies governing the use of Music Technology facilities. By necessity our facilities must be reserved primarily for teaching and for Music Technology class projects. If you are an MSU music student, you are eligible to check out recording equipment with faculty permission; for assistance please see our Computer Support Specialist, Joe Sweeney (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are not an MSU music student, we'd be happy to give you a referral to one of the excellent commercial studios or location recording services in the Bozeman area.
Do you have Music Technology courses for non-majors?
The School of Music has a limited number of spaces for non-majors in MUST 112, Basic Home Recording, taught by Doc Wiley at Peach Street Studios (627 East Peach Street). Basic Home Recording requires each student to purchase an MBox interface and Pro Tools software, approximately $350 for students. For more information, please contact Doc Wiley: email@example.com