Bachelor of Arts

Commercial Music

Our cutting-edge bachelor's degree in commercial music is designed to prepare students for a future in entrepreneurial music, either as a professional performer, writer, producer or engineer or working behind the scenes in the multifaceted and growing music business.

Tiffin University’s commercial music program balances coursework in musicianship, technology and music business, so that students can gain an understanding of popular music styles through practical music-making, writing and production. This program is unique among schools like Tiffin University, which is small enough to give hands-on opportunities that larger schools may not be able to offer.

Students can work on original music and enjoy regular time in TU’s state-of-the-art recording studio. Each semester, they also have the chance to work with a successful professional producer, who spends a week each semester in residence helping students with their studio projects. Tiffin University also regularly hosts music industry professionals who lead discussions about their work and give demonstrations of their craft.

The commercial music degree was designed for students with a variety of backgrounds. Students work both in styles of music in which they have experience, and in a variety of diverse musical styles that will give them a well-rounded base for their careers. All students are required to designate one of these principal performance areas: voice, piano, bass, guitar, drums, beatmaking or songwriting.

Performance Opportunities

Tiffin University offers a wide variety of commercial music performing opportunities, from a cappella groups and cover bands to a hip hop collective and a songwriting ensemble. These groups perform and record extensively, giving students valuable real-world experience.

The Performing Arts Lab

TU’s Performing Arts Lab (The PAL) features a professional recording studio, keyboard and production lab, as well as large rehearsal spaces for TU bands, choirs, dance teams and commercial ensembles. With over 14,000 square feet of studio, rehearsal, teaching and practice space, the PAL serves the 200 TU students involved in our 20+ extracurricular music ensembles and our cutting-edge commercial music degrees.

B.A. Commercial Music (38 credit hours: 23 lower-level, 15 upper-level)

  • Musician Success Seminar
  • Musicianship I & II
  • Rhythm Section I, II & III
  • Arranging I & II
  • Songwriting 
  • Survey of Music Business
  • Music Publishing
  • Music Entrepreneurship 
  • Intro to Music Technology
  • Live Sound Engineering
  • Recording Engineering
  • Sound Design
  • Music for Film & Media
  • Electronic Music Production
  • Advanced Studio Production I & II
  • Private Music Instruction
  • Sophomore Project
  • Senior Project

This is a sample course sequence to illustrate course offerings for this major. Consult the official Academic Bulletin for detailed registration and advising information.

On Campus - Offered in a 15-week semester format with start dates of January and August

Students may pair the commercial music major with one of two professional music concentrations:

  • Concentration in Performance & Entrepreneurship - allows students to develop advanced skills in support of a career professional performing or writing career, or for building their own independent music business
  • Concentration in Production & Engineering - allows future studio producers to focus on the technology that is at the heart of so much of today’s music industry

Or students can build a custom secondary area of study that supports their own unique career goals. These might include business management, marketing, or digital media and design.

Songwriting (MUS422) - Students will compose and perform their own songs in class as well as engage in analysis projects constructed to reinforce the variety of approaches and technique of song craft. Structural and creative aspects of commercial songwriting will be examined, including lyrics, melody, form, and general song craft. The class will also assist the student in discovering a personal style as a songwriter and in developing a personal song portfolio.

Music Publishing (MUS360) - This course provides a detailed analysis of the music publishing business, and the role of the publisher in the acquisition, market development, and administration of copyrighted musical compositions. Topics include copyright registration and renewal, contractual relationships with composers, and an analysis of licensing of the publisher's catalog through recordings, video and film, print, and performance rights.

Electronic Music Production (MUS 338) - Analyzing and composing in a variety of electronic music styles, students gain an understanding of many aspects of contemporary electronic music, including beats, harmony, bass lines, groove, melodies, synthesis, sampling, MIDI creation and editing, effects processing, sound design, performance and mixing.

  • A&R Professional
  • ADR Recordist
  • Arranger
  • Artist Manager
  • Artist Relations Manager
  • Audio Director
  • Backup Vocalist
  • Bandleader
  • Booking Manager
  • Church Musician
  • Composer (Film & TV)
  • Composer (Gaming)
  • Copyist
  • Cover Band Musician
  • Creative Entrepreneur
  • Cruise Ship Musician
  • DJ/Remixer
  • Foley Artist
  • Freelance Musician
  • Independent Artist
  • Live Sound Engineer
  • Mastering Engineer
  • Military Musician
  • Music Director (TV)
  • Music Editor
  • Music Librarian
  • Music Supervisor
  • Orchestrator (Film & TV)
  • Performer
  • Private Instructor
  • Producer-Beatmakers
  • Producer-Songwriter
  • Record Producer
  • Recording Engineer
  • Songwriter
  • Sound Designer
  • Sound Editor
  • Studio Manager
  • Studio Musician
  • Tour Manager
  • Transcriptionist

This is a new program! Successful placements to come in the next few years …

Faculty

Bradley Rees
Bradley Rees

Bradley Rees

BRees@tiffin.edu
419-448-3317

Assistant Professor of Music

Music Department Director

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.A., George Mason University
  • B.Mus., George Mason University
  • M.Mus., University of Northern Colorado

Bradley Rees

Brad Rees serves as Director of the Tiffin University Music Department, where he coordinates TU's new ProMusic degree program, and also directs the award-winning a cappella ensemble Up in the Air, conducts University Choirs, and teaches voice, music theory, and music production & engineering. A leader in contemporary a cappella and vocal jazz education for two decades, Brad has served as the Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, on the faculty at Iowa's School for Music Vocations, and on the jazz faculty at Bowling Green State University.

A frequent clinician at vocal music festivals across the US and Canada, he is a regular judge for ICCA, ICHSA and show choir competitions throughout the Midwest, and has served on the faculty of Halewyn Jazz Workshop in Belgium and many other summer workshops and camps.  His ensembles have appeared across the United States and Canada, at the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and on tour in the Republic of China, Germany, the Czech Republic, and South Africa. His choirs have also performed on several national TV broadcasts.

His own performing credits include appearances with Ben Folds, Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, Joe Williams, George Shearing, African gospel artist Rebecca Malope, and others. He sang with the Grammy-nominated vocal jazz quintet, The Axidentals, with Phil Mattson’s Voices, and in residence at the Smithsonian Institution.

Brad is currently completing a DMA from Boston University, received a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado, and holds degrees in music and public relations from George Mason University in Virginia. He has served in leadership  positions for the Ohio chapters of IAJE and ACDA, and his compositions and arrangements are available through UNC Jazz Press.

Bradley Rees
Assistant Professor of Music
Bradley Rees
Assistant Professor of Music
Alexandra Manfredo
Alexandra Manfredo

Alexandra Manfredo

Manfredoai@tiffin.edu
419-448-3583

Instructor of Voice and Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.M., Milliken University
  • M.M., University of Miami

Alexandra Manfredo

Professor Alexandra I. Manfredo has joined Tiffin University as a Instructor of Choir and Commercial Music.  She has a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music in Voice Music.  Professor Manfredo has an expertise in vocal Performance: Jazz, Pop, and Contemporary, Small and Large Vocal Jazz Ensembles, songwriting, Commercial/Contemporary music ensembles, Theory/Ear Training, and Vocal Pedagogy, and teaching experience from the University of Miami and Superior Academy of Music.

Professor Manfredo was the Bandleader and writer of the "Alex Manfredo Project" performing with artists: Gretchen Parlato, Cyrille Aimee, James Newton Howard, and Shelly Berg, as well as numerous Jazz performances and awards from both the University of Miami, and Millikin University.

Alexandra Manfredo
Instructor of Voice and Commercial Music
Alexandra Manfredo
Instructor of Voice and Commercial Music
Nathan Santos
Nathan Santos

Nathan Santos

SantosNH@tiffin.edu
419-448-3391

Instructor of Music

Director of Commercial Music - Instrumental

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.M., Wilkes University
  • M.M., University of Miami

Nathan Santos

Professor Santos is the Director of Instrumental Commercial Music at Tiffin University in Ohio. Awarded the 2013-14 “Faculty Member of the Year”, he directs the touring group, DFX, which has visited areas throughout PA, Ohio, New York and North Carolina. He also has assembled the TU Big Dragon Band, directs the Concert Choir, and teaches various courses including Advanced Musicianship, Analysis of Music, Rhythm Section Methods, Pedagogy, Music Appreciation, and an interdisciplinary cultures course focused on the Canadian progressive rock band, Rush. He also teaches bass, guitar, and jazz piano, and is a primary piano accompanist for ensembles and students.

Mr. Santos is originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He received his B.M. from Wilkes University (1992) as a music performance major, with an emphasis in bass and voice. He received his M.M. in Studio Jazz Performance from the University of Miami, Florida (1994) where he also studied with Dr. Lucas Drew. He has previously served on the faculties of Indiana University of PA, St. Francis University, Penn State University, Main Campus and the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

He has actively participated in PMEA events including guest conductor for District Jazz Choirs in Districts 6, 8, and 9. He was a guest clinician in the PMEA State Conference in Hershey, PA, collaborating with respected vocal educator, Elizabeth Good, in a seminar entitled, “Cooking Up Some Vocal Jazz: Appetizers to a Full Course Meal,” and also in the State Conference in Pittsburgh, PA demonstrating the versatility of the bass.

As a 20-year former resident of Johnstown, he served as Principal Bass of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, regularly performed with Jazz In Your Face Big Band, Acousticity, Soy Bomb, Brex, and White Noise. He served as Co-Director of Music Ministry at Westmont Presbyterian Church from 1999-2012. He has shared the stage with such notable performers as Bernadette Peters, Ben Folds, Joe Morello, Olivia Newton-John, Sherryl Milnes, Lou Christie, John Blake, Jr., George Young, Marvin Stamm, Scott Lavender, Mike Tomaro, Andy Narell, Dave Samuels, Five By Design, River City Brass, Steve Fidyk, Ed Soph, Jonathan Kreisberg, Carrie Tillis, and many others. He has been a pit musician in many musical theater productions for organizations including the Mountain Playhouse (Jennerstown, PA), and various high schools throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has appeared on several recordings including Family Arts Theatre, Terminal Degree, Stanley Chepaitis, Mark Weakland and Rachel Allen, which can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Nathan Santos
Instructor of Music
Nathan Santos
Instructor of Music

Testimonials

  • "I chose Tiffin University because I heard so many great things about it from other students. Now that I am here, I am very happy. TU has numerous resources on campus, such as the Pfeiffer Library and Student Success Center. These places offer assistance for all of my academic needs."

         - Ali Alshehri, Saudi Arabia

    TU helped grow my network and give me experience by meeting students from other cultures and countries, and learning from a range of professors. Anyone who wants to feel connected to their fellow students, to their personable professors, and the community
  • I could not have asked for better faculty. I love how small the class sizes are because I really know the majority of my professors pretty well. More importantly, they know me really well and are aware of my future goals and aspirations. I know that I could seek help from any one of my mentors and they would give me the best advice that they had.

    -Beata Krembuszewski '17

    TU helped grow my network and give me experience by meeting students from other cultures and countries, and learning from a range of professors. Anyone who wants to feel connected to their fellow students, to their personable professors, and the community
  • Jessica Paule - Class of 2015
    "Tiffin University is the college that has helped me grow into the person that I am today. While at Tiffin, I have made unforgettable memories and friends. I continued my education at The University of Toledo College of Law. Although I am moving on, I will never forget everything I have gained from my time at Tiffin University."

    – Jessica Paule, Class of 2015

    Jessica Paule - Class of 2015
  • "TU gave me the extra boost needed to move forward with accomplishing my dream of becoming a small business owner. With the help and encouragement of my professors and coach, I was able to take that leap into the business world knowing I could not succeed if I did not take risks."

    – Emily Miller

    "TU gave me the extra boost needed to move forward with accomplishing my dream of becoming a small business owner. With the help and encouragement of my professors and coach, I was able to take that leap into the business world knowing I could not succeed
  • Ygor Bortolato
    "I chose Tiffin because it is a university with people from all parts of the world, and the fact I could be here and meet all of them is simply amazing. Better yet, I came here for swimming and it was an honor for me to be a part of TU’s newest athletic program.”

    - Ygor Bortolato, Brazil

    Ygor Bortolato

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