Bachelor of Arts in Professional Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Professional Music is a performance-based degree designed to provide the student with a contemporary modern musical skill set—real-world marketable skills that are generally not taught in traditional university music degrees.  It is also designed with input from ‘working musicians’ who hold traditional college music degrees, and therefore largely addresses those areas and skills musicians say they ‘wish they had learned in school.'

The degree emphasizes individual musicianship and a proficiency in multiple musical skills, rather than developing expertise on one instrument only, as is typical of traditional performance degrees.  It uses a diversity of popular musical styles to teach musicianship, rather than the classical repertoire most often used to teach musicianship in traditional university programs.  The degree is also flexibly designed to maximize personal growth, giving students the opportunity to both excel in strength areas and develop secondary skill areas that pertain to their individual career goals.  Students may choose a traditional band or orchestral instrument as their primary area of study, or choose traditional, jazz or contemporary popular voice, beatmaking/turntablism/production, or an instrument unique to a particular style of popular music.  At the same time all students develop a high level of core musicianship while learning the skills needed to be flexible and adaptable to the ever-changing face of contemporary music.

The commercial music performance skill areas developed in the degree include:

  • Developing expertise performing in popular styles on one’s primary instrument
  • Developing a competence on the rhythm section instruments of piano, guitar, bass and percussion
  • Writing and arranging music in popular styles and for multiple types of ensembles
  • Developing expertise as a bandleader
  • Developing expertise as a teacher on one’s primary instrument
  • Develop expertise as a musical entrepreneur, providing career and band management and marketing

The new degree responds to the needs of the projected job growth among musicians.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30% growth among independent musicians (2008-2018), making it the fastest-growing sector among those employed in music-related industries (compared to a projected 8% job growth among all musicians and related workers)
The BA in Professional Music mirrors cutting-edge degree programs being offered at a few colleges and universities in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Nashville.  It also reflects the burgeoning academic area of Popular Music performance study that has recently become common in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, and elsewhere abroad.  It places Tiffin University at the forefront of music higher education, making TU one of only a handful of schools nationwide addressing this growing niche market.  The degree builds on TU’s reputation of forward-thinking music performance and career training.

The degree relies on an experienced full-time teaching staff of professional performers, experienced educators, writers & arrangers, record producers and musical entrepreneurs.  Students also benefit from study with a large community of professional musicians who specialize in a variety of instruments and musical styles.  Students also enjoy many opportunities to perform alongside professionals as a part of the regional community of working musicians, opening up potential future performing opportunities and developing a network of future colleagues.