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I'm a college student at my local community college where I am currently enrolled as a music major. I just finished my first semester and I am still trying to figure out what degree I want or exactly what field I would like to get into. My plan, until yesterday, was to get an associates in Audio Recording and an Associates in Computer Programming. My goal with that would be to get into designing software such as DAW's, VST's, etc. Until yesterday, when I was watching a video demonstration from Musikmesse 2014 and I realized that what I really want to do is work for a company like Akai, DjTechTools, Native Instruments, or similar companies designing electronic instruments. So my question is, what degree(s) would be best to help me to get into this field? And how do people typically get into this field?

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I hope you like math a lot, because to do any of those jobs, you will need to do a lot of it. A dual major in acoustical engineering and computer science would probably be ideal, but it involves lots and lots and lots of math because you have to deal with acoustic modeling, which is all math.

If you were considering just getting associates degrees and making things that sound cool from musical skill, you may want to reconsider the path of designing the tools used by musicians, because it is extremely technical. If the idea of a bunch of math and fairly challenging 4 year programs doesn't scare you off though, it could be a lot of fun, just be aware of what you are getting yourself into if you go down that path.

  • I was already planning on taking a good amount of math anyways with a computer science degree with an emphasis in programming. I know with that you have to take up to calculus 2. Is it higher for acoustical engineering? Also, wouldn't acoustical engineering be more on the room acoustics side of thing? Such as engineering buildings for musical performance? I was thinking that a degree in audio recording and maybe a degree in computer science with an emphasis in computer engineering. Or whatever degree would be for building circuits. – illicit Jun 6 '14 at 23:47
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    @illicit - recording is not engineering. Engineers build the tools that recording studios use. Acoustical engineering is engineering of sound, not just room acoustics, but signal processing and the like as well. DSP, which is what you are looking at working with, uses acoustic engineering. I suggest checking out the wikipedia article for more extensive detail on what Acoustical engineering actually does. Computer engineering is the study of how computers work and has almost nothing to do with what you want to do. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '14 at 0:49
  • Do you know what level of math I will have to go to for Acoustical Engineering? – illicit Jun 7 '14 at 1:44
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    @illicit - sadly I am not. I'm a software developer by trade and dual majored in Computer Science and Electronic Media, Arts and Communications, but I was more interested in how to use the tools than how to build them and the time I spent learning how to build them was more no the video and animation side. Didn't learn a lot of the nuts and bolts of audio processing. Lots of transforms though. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '14 at 2:50

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