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," “Audio Engineering," or "Live Sound" Degree Program?

Not Exactly... Although 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, recording and sound reinforcement 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 diverse range of topics such as music composition, sound synthesis, sound design, audio for video and games, 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 Technology 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 Technology course sequence begins in the fall semester, insufficient prior preparation may necessitate an additional year for completion of the requirements for the Music Technology Foundation Sequence, 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.  If you have a limited music background, there are several activities you should consider pursuing before beginning your studies in music at MSU.

  1. Take lessons on your primary instrument/voice 
  2. Take piano lessons
  3. Take a music theory course at your high school or college if available
  4. Spend time at MusicTheory.net - this is a great website that has lessons and exercises that will help you prepare for your first year of music study at MSU.  In “Lessons” Start with “The Basics” and work up through “Introduction to chords.”  Reinforce your knowledge in the “exercises” page.

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 or analog synthesis, the composer is expected to provide it. Versatility is extremely important. 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 live sound systems, create music and sound for film, video, theatre, television, multimedia art, 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 physics among others. These opportunities support student career goals in multimedia art, music technology sales, industry representation, hardware and musical instrument design, engineering, installation, music software design and programing, acoustical design, and other scientific and 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 on the School of Music Scholarship Page.

Is the B.A. in Music Technology a Gated Program?

Beginning in Fall 2014, the B.A. in Music Technology no longer requires a formal review or “gate” after the first year of study.  However, students are required to meet requirements for advanced course work, including completion of all prerequisite courses with a “C” or better.  More information about degree requirements can be found in the MSU course catalog

Foundation 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
  • Applied Lessons or Guitar Class

Are Internships available through the Music Technology Program?

Yes.  Students are encouraged to participate in an internship while pursuing a B.A. in Music Technology at MSU.  An internship can be an integral part of a student’s learning experience, and can strengthen valuable hands-on skills. The internship experience allows students the opportunity to develop relationships and contacts with professionals in the industry, which can be extremely important for career development.  The program and faculty have relationships with music technology related businesses in Bozeman, around Montana, and across the nation.

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 contact the School of Music - Computer Support Specialist. 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.