Graduate Study

Master of Music in Sound Recording Technology (MM:SRT)


MM:SRT Program Objectives

You are the Creator.  Art is the Motivator.  Technology is the Tool.

The Master of Music in Sound Recording Technology (MM:SRT) program enhances the musical and technical capabilities of the candidate through deep studies of the art, science, and practice in this ever-advancing field. The two-year experience engages the student through in-class studies, lab/field-based research, and significant hands-on, in-studio project work, on a buzzing campus in the historic city of Lowell, a hub of arts activities in New England.

Graduates of the program find meaningful careers in a range of disciplines:

Record and mix engineering for music, film, game, and broadcast; audio mastering; music production; studio management; audio research and development; audio user experience design; audio software development; test and measurement; room acoustics; acoustic product development and design; product management; sound design; audio education in K-12 and Higher Ed.

The program prepares graduates to be lifelong learners in a changing, high tech field through foundational, theoretical studies complemented by constant, real world studio experiences, informed by advanced critical listening, empowered by problem solving and critical thinking, challenged by leading edge innovations, and guided by deep knowledge of the associated arts.

 


MM:SRT Admission Requirements

  • Who may apply?

Are you passionate about art and science? Do you possess that rare combination of musical creativity and technical mastery?

We look for applicants who have demonstrated academic and/or professional achievements in both music and audio.  Applicants for admission to the MM:SRT degree program must possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, with a major in music or engineering.

Music Majors:

Those possessing a music degree with an emphasis in audio-related disciplines (e.g. production, engineering, acoustics, etc.) are well qualified to apply.

Those with a degree in another music discipline (performance, business, education, etc.) are encouraged to apply, but will likely need remediation through audio theory studies.  Your academic advisor will help you map out the appropriate additional coursework based on your application, work that can be taken prior to matriculation, with prior approval.  Remedial audio coursework is preparatory to graduate studies and does not count toward your degree.

Engineering Majors:

Those possessing an engineering degree (electrical engineering, computer science, etc.) with emphasis in music and/or audio experience are encouraged to apply, but will likely need remediation through music theory and/or audio theory studies based on the candidate’s prior studies and experience.  Your academic advisor will help you map out the appropriate additional coursework based on your application, work that can be taken prior to matriculation, with prior approval.  Remedial audio/music coursework is preparatory to graduate studies and does not count toward your degree.

Strong preparation in both music and audio, prior to graduate studies, leads to higher achievement in the multi-disciplinary field of sound recording technology.  We seek applicants eager for such a challenge.  Some prerequisites may be waived at the discretion of the Department of Music through distinguished results on placement examinations, and/or professional experiences and achievement.

  • How do I apply?

In addition to the admission requirements for all applicants to the Master of Music programs, applicants to the sound recording technology program must submit:

  1. Transcripts demonstrating completion of an undergraduate degree in an area related to the audio industry. We seek applicants whose undergraduate studies included in-depth studies across the disciplines of audio, music, and science.  Students whose undergraduate studies do not include all of the program’s three main disciplines are expected to demonstrate compensating excellence in at least two of them, plus documented threshold capabilities in the third.  This will be done through the portfolio, college transcripts, and/or documented professional experience.
  2. A Production Portfolio demonstrating suitable production skill and experience, with detailed documentation.  We request three example projects — either audio-only productions where the applicant was the primary engineer, or video/film projects for which the applicant provided audio post-production work. All media (USB drives, CD, DVD, Blue Ray) must be clearly and fully labeled. We understand that projects are often a collaboration among a number of people. Applicant should choose recordings in which they made a significant contribution, clearly defining their role in the project [e.g., producer, recording engineer (all tracks), sound designer, synthesist, composer, recording engineer (drums and vocals only), mix engineer, etc.]. Each project should be accompanied by document, (digital preferred) of no less than three pages (and it may run to several more) documenting performers, location, technology, techniques, and the exact nature of the applicant’s contributions. Information on equipment and techniques used is especially important. Copies of original session documentation (Track Sheets, Set-up Sheets, Recall Sheets) and/or a complete list and description of the equipment used in the creation of each submitted recording are strongly desired. Photos showing instrument placement within the room and microphone placement around instruments are welcome. Finally, include a discussion of your creative goals on each project and how it influenced your technical approach to the making of the recording.  The Production Portfolio is designed to be open-ended enough for you to express yourself creatively, demonstrate success in any related discipline, and show attention to detail.
  3. Demonstrated proficiency in college-level math and science through relevant course work or standardized tests or college transcripts.
  4. A Statement of Career Objectives and Interests showing the applicant’s specific goals and motivations for graduate study in sound recording technology.
  5. Three letters of recommendation which evidence the student’s preparedness for graduate study in the MM: SRT program.

MM:SRT Program Pathways

Sound recording technologies are always studied in the context of the relevant aesthetics –music, video, and interactive media for studio, live and virtual experiences.   Electives allows the candidate to remain a generalist, or follow one of two audio discipline pathways to better serve the student’s interests and career ambitions:

Music Production

Electives in Advanced Multitrack Production and Advanced Mix Techniques allow a sharp focus music production for those interested in careers in record and mix engineering for music, film, game, and broadcast.

Audio for Visual and Interactive Media

Electives in Audio for Visuals, Sound Synthesis, and Advanced Video Production expand your audio reach to other media.


 

MM:SRT Program Concentrations

MM:SRT offers two concentrations.  The Technical Concentration is for students with a strong math and science background, leading to publication of a research thesis in the sound recording technology field.  The Production Concentration’s capstone effort is the Masters Recording Project, for students focused on the art and practice of sound recording.

The Technical Concentration

The Technical Concentration requires the student to complete the SRT masters thesis and at least one technical elective course that is approved in advance by the student’s faculty advisor.

  • Major Field (15 credits)
      • MUSR.5200 Recording Analysis (3)
      • MUSR.6300 Technologies of Audio (3)
      • MUSR.6400 Production Practicum (3)
      • MUSR.7430 SRT Masters Thesis (6)
  • Music Core (9 credits)
      • MUTH.6100 Structure, Context, and Style (3)
      • MUSR.6500 Research in SRT (3)
      • MUEN.xxxx Ensemble Participation (3)
  • Electives (6 credits)
    •  Technical elective (one from below)
      • MSUR.5900 Advanced Acoustics for Audio (3)
      • MUSR.6100 Digital Media (3)
      • MSUR.6600 Seminar in Audio (3)
      • MUSR.5450 Advanced Mix Techniques (3)
    • Free elective (approved by the faculty advisor) (3)

The Production Concentration

The Production Concentration requires the student to complete the masters recording project and at least one production elective related to their capstone project.

  • Major Field (15 credits)
      • MUSR.5200 Recording Analysis (3)
      • MUSR.6300 Technologies of Audio (3)
      • MUSR.6400 Production Practicum (3)
      • MUSR.7400 Masters Recording Project (6)
  • Music Core (9 credits)
      • MUTH.6100 Structure, Context, and Style (3)
      • MUSR.6500 Research in SRT (3)
      • MUEN.xxxx Ensemble Participation (3)
  • Electives (6 credits)
    • Production elective (one from below)
      • MUSR.4110 Advanced Multitrack Recording (3)
      • MUSR.4600 Audio for Visuals (3)
      • MUSR.4300 Computer Applications in Music  (3)
      • MUSR.5500 Advanced Video Production (3)
      • MUSR.5450 Advanced Mix Techniques (3)
    • Free elective [approved by the faculty advisor] (3)


MM:SRT Graduation Requirements

Technical Concentration

Course Grid

Technical Concentration Worksheet

Production Concentration

Course Grid

Production Concentration Worksheet


MM:SRT Courses

MUSR.5200 Recording Analysis

Recognition of the unique dimensions of audio recordings, and evaluation of how they can be crafted to support musical expression. Aural analysis of audio device performance, integrity of audio quality, recording environments, and sound source characteristics. Understanding of the mix as musical interpretation and performance.

MUSR.5210 Sound Synthesis 2

Advanced sound synthesis techniques are studied and supplemented with sound synthesis studio laboratory work. The course will cover MIDI implementation in analog and digital sound synthesis, the historic origins of computer music and electro-acoustic music, live electronic music performance, audio equipment and applications of MIDI-based and functional devices and processors, advanced music production and sound synthesis via MIDI. Permission of Coordinator
and Chair.

MUSR.5450 Advanced Mix Techniques

This course develops deep technical mastery and advanced aesthetic achievement in the multitrack mixdown phase of sound recording. Key families of effects are covered form first principles and technical basics to advanced applications. Processes are integrated into contemporary production strategies for music, film, game, broadcast, and live mixing.

MUSR.5500 Advanced Video Production

Extends basic music production skills into the professional sphere. Hands on experience is emphasized. Students are involved with exercises that teach approaches to dramatic lighting, audio-recording skills for challenging environments, specialized camera techniques used in Hollywood productions, and refined editing techniques. After completing several short video presentations, students will produce a multi-tracked production that demonstrates their competency in video and audio recording, sound effects, narration, and refined editing techniques. Prerequisite: 78.350

MUSR.5900 Advanced Acoustics for Audio

This course includes measuring, predicting and modifying the acoustic behavior of rooms, instruments, and speaker enclosures, culminating in original student designs. An in-depth study of sound perception will also be included along with the latest research in live sound reinforcement and related technologies. Students must complete an original rewearch project by the end of the term. Prerequisite: 78.630

MUTH.6100 Structure, Context and Style

This course will bring the student to a concept of music in its theoretical, historical and cultural contexts, building on the materials and techniques acquired in undergraduate studies. Required for all Master of Music Students.


MUSR.6100 Digital Media

This course in an in-depth study of the systems and standards that collectively define “digital fusion”, the convergence of all known media on a common platform and practice. Text, music, sound, images, and moving pictures are all digital objects that are stored, processed, and transmitted using the same set of technologies. The course examines each of these technologies and their common foundation in contemporary digital computing. The course also examines the impact of digital fusion on the traditional 5-tier media value-chain (producer/publisher/wholesaler/retailer/end user) Prerequisite: 78.630

MUSR.6300 Technologies of Audio

In-depth study of historical, current, and cutting edge technologies of audio devices, systems, and software; includes performance specifications, design and operational parameters, and interface considerations at all systems levels.

MUSR.6400 Production Practicum

Experimental and current recording production techniques, and historically significant approaches to recording. Performance of advanced production work including acoustic and electronic sound sources, automated mixdown, stereo and surround mixing,synchronization and MIDI, audio for visuals, multimedia. Studio production work led by lecture/demonstration classes and individual student research.

MUSR.6500 Research in Sound Recording Technology

An introduction to the knowledge and skills common to research in all areas of music: finding resources, reading and interpreting research, and understanding and applying the principles of objective investigation The research paradigms of technology and engineering, the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences are explored and contrasted. This course consists of a sequence of lectures on the fundamental topics, followed by a series of modules or case studies in specific research areas pertaining to SRT. Each class meeting involves a project or lab for which the student must write a report or research document.

MUSR.6600 Seminar in Audio

Current topics are explored in a seminar setting requiring student participation and research. Topics selected for in-depth examination might include advanced SRT-related research methods and materials; advanced facility and systems design; experimental technologies and media; experimental production practices or artistic projects; evaluations of recordings; audio industry trends; facility and career management. Prerequisite: 78.630.


MUSR.7400 Masters Recording Project

Planning and execution of a substantial recording project under the supervision of an SRT faculty member.

MUSR.7430 SRT Masters Thesis

The thesis is a scholarly investigation in SRT or an audio-related field resulting in a comprehensive written document. The student must complete acceptable research and defend it before a thesis committee. The choice of a thesis topic and a thesis advisor, the formation of a thesis committee, and the procedures for the preparation of the thesis and its defense are described in detail in the Master’s Degree Requirements section of the UMASS Lowell Graduate Catalog. The specific procedures required y the Department of Music are published by the Department and are available in the main office.