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Music Technology Minor

Better recordings, production, and acoustics through technology
Develop skills applying technology to music production and performance. Become an acoustic consultant, audio/sound engineer, recording engineer, mixer, music editor, or sound designer. The Music Technology minor is the place to start.

Administered by faculty from the College of Arts and Architecture’s School of Music, School of Theatre, and Department of Integrative Arts, the minor in Music Technology is appropriate for undergraduate students seeking to apply domains of knowledge from their majors or general education programs to the fields of audio production and digital technology in music.

The program, which is part of the Music Technology – ROARS Studio, consists of prescribed foundation courses in musical acoustics, digital audio, sound design, and audio recording. Supporting course work will enable you to focus in advanced topics such as music software programming, multi-media, or entertainment systems.

Man wearing headphones using a computer with multiple screens to engineer audio tracks for a video clip

Does this sound like you?

  • You are interested in recording, sound production, and acoustics and have a background in music and computer software.
  • You’re majoring in music, theatre sound design, integrative arts, film production, information science and technology, or computer science (although the Music Tech minor is open to all majors).

If so, Music Technology sounds perfect for you.

Application Details

Application to the music technology minor

Students wishing to complete the Music Technology minor should complete the following process:

  1. After a student begins attending classes at Penn State, email scr5385@psu.edu (Dr. Rice) with your name, 9-digit PSU ID, & projected graduation year.
  2. Complete MUSIC 8, INART 50Z (fall only at UP), and INART 258A with a grade of C or higher (MUSIC 8 can be waived for students that demonstrate experience with the contents of this course).
  3. The next course, THEA 285, is only offered in the spring semester and Music Tech minor students must request to be added by emailing Margaret Higgins at mah68@psu.edu.
  4. Once these four courses are completed or scheduled, students may formally apply to the minor by submitting a portfolio to Dr. Steven Rice and Curtis Craig (details in Portfolio section).

Portfolio Requirements

The portfolio should consist of the following:

  • Student’s 9-digit PSU ID.
  • A list of courses taken that apply to the minor and grades earned in them.
  • Two proposed supporting courses to complete the minor (one needs to be at the 400-level).
  • A collection of the student’s best work, in whatever form is most appropriate (papers, recordings, web pages, etc.). If other materials are also submitted as physical media, be sure to label all materials and put them together in an envelope to ensure that nothing gets lost. If they are uploaded to an online repository, such as OneDrive or Google Drive, put everything into a single folder and zip it up so that we may download everything with one click.

In order for Dr. Rice and Professor Curtis Craig to access and review your portfolio, please send the link or files to both of them. Their emails are: scr5385@psu.edu (Dr. Rice) and cjc18@psu.edu (Prof. Craig).

Questions about course enrollment may be sent to A&A Advisor Margaret Higgins at mah68@psu.edu.


Supporting Courses

Below is a list of required and pre-approved supporting courses but any course in the university that meets the spirit of this requirement in the judgment of the Committee may be used to satisfy this requirement. Some courses have pre-requisites; students should consult the instructors to ensure that they meet eligibility requirements before enrolling for courses.

Please email Dr. Steven Rice at scr5385@psu.edu with specific questions.

Course List + Details

Required for Minor

THEA 484 SOUND RECORDING TECHNIQUES (3)
Multi-track audio recording and post production techniques. THEA 484 will provide fundamental skills in recording an audio production.


Supporting Courses

MUSIC 420 SONG WRITING AND RECORDING (3) Song composition, arranging and recording in a variety of style genres. Prerequisite: INART 258, MUSIC 231. The MUSIC 231 requirement can be waived for Music Technology Minors by emailing Dr. Josh Davis for approval joshuadavis@psu.edu .

MUSIC 451 COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FOR MUSICIANS (3) Study of music programming techniques. Prerequisite: INART 258 or permission of program

MUSIC 452 MUSIC SYNTHESIS (3) Intensive study of synthesis techniques such as physical modeling & subtractive synthesis.

MUSIC 458 ELECTRONIC MUSIC COMPOSITION I (3) An introduction to the art of composition in the electronic audio medium. Prerequisite: INART 258. Offered Spring semesters only.

MUSIC 459 ELECTRONIC MUSIC COMPOSITION II (3) Offered odd-year Fall semesters. Prerequisite: MUSIC 458.

MUSIC 497 MUSIC INFORMATION RETRIEVAL (3) Offered even-year Fall semesters.

THEA 485 SOUND FOR THEATRE PRODUCTION (3) Aesthetics of live and recorded sound; recording and editing techniques for the stage. Prerequisite: THEA 100 , THEA 150

THEA 495 INTERNSHIP PRACTICUM ( 1–6) Professional field experience in theatre performance, production, and management assignments. Prerequisite: approval of internship by instructor prior to registration

EE 453 FUNDAMENTALS OF DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING (3) Design of FIR and IIR filters; DFT and its computation via FFT; applications of DFT; filter implementation; finite arithmetic effects. Prerequisite: EE 317 or EE 351

ACS 097S Audio Engineering – Loudspeakers 1

DART 201 FOCUSED REALIZATION STUDIO (3) Provides students with the opportunity for the realization of more focused studio explorations in digital arts and design disciplines.

DART 205 CREATIVE CODING: SCRIPTING FOR ART & DESIGN (3) Introduces object-oriented programming fundamentals for the production of expressive interactive experiences such as animations, interfaces and games.

Faculty Spotlight

Current and former students meeting together in the Penn State Theatre Convergence Lab.
Current and former students meeting together in the Penn State Theatre Convergence Lab.

Curtis Craig

Head, Sound Design

Curtis Craig (Sound Designer, Composer, Projection Designer) Recent work: Pipeline (Cleveland Playhouse, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Detroit Public Theatre), Indecent (Denver Center Theatre Company), world premier – Dominique Morriseau’s Mud Row (People’s Light & Theatre Company), world premier – The Great Leap (Denver Center Theatre Company, Seattle Rep), The Bacchae (Classical Theatre of Harlem), How to Catch Creation (Baltimore Center Stage, Philadelphia Theatre Company). In 2017, his sound design and composition from the Denver Center production of All The Way was awarded the Silver Medal in Sound Design at the World Stage Design exposition in Taipei, Taiwan. He previously won the Gold Medal in Sound Design for Pentecost in 2009 in Seoul, South Korea. His work can be heard at www.curtiscraig.com.

Curtis Craig working at sound board.

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