A New Major in Music Production

Chart-topping sound engineers and DJs help design USC Thornton’s newest major.

February 29, 2016 Allison Engel

When great music makers have a smash hit, most don’t sit back and coast—they work on their next big project. Just ask the team behind the new bachelor’s program in music production at the USC Thornton School of Music. It was inspired by the flourishing major in popular music the school introduced in 2010.

Rick Schmunk, music technology chair, and USC Thornton Vice Dean Chris Sampson designed the program with help from esteemed audio engineer and educator Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton, a USC Thornton artist-in-residence, and Miami-based DJ and producer Greg “Stryke” Chin.

The inaugural music production class began this fall and focuses on creative, technical and business aspects of producing professional music. The curriculum reflects the current and evolving nature of professional music-making in the digital age, teaching skills including composing and arranging, live and studio performance, audio engineering/editing and mastering, music synthesis and programming, as well as business responsibilities related to music. Students will work closely with songwriters, artists and bands at USC Thornton and with video directors, designers, artists and other creative minds across USC.

“We’ve seen firsthand the power of creating a highly collaborative music community at USC Thornton,” says Sampson, who is also founding director of the USC Popular Music Program. “Adding musicians from the new music production major into this community will greatly enhance the experience for all our students.”