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.

Commercial Music study is based largely on a praxial philosophy, allowing students to gain an understanding of popular music styles primarily through practical music-making, rather than through a more theoretical or musicological study. If fits squarely with a professional approach to music education.

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.

HUMANITIES CORE

ENG152 Technical Writing     3 hours

DMD134 Introduction to Digital Media     3 hours

DMD230 Digital Video I     3 hours

COM310 Human, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication     3 hours

COM324 Communicating Across Cultures     3 hours

SAS470 Internship     3 hours

Total     18 hours

COMMERCIAL MUSIC

MUS100 Music Convocation     0 hours

MUS105 Musician Success Seminar     1 hour

MUS115 Private Music Instruction-Primary     1 hour

MUS116 Private Music Instruction-Primary     1 hour

MUS121 Musicianship I – Lecture     3 hours

MUS121L Musicianship I – Lab     1 hour

MUS130 Introduction to Music Technology     3 hours

MUS215 Private Music Instruction – Primary     1 hour

MUS216 Private Music Instruction – Primary     1 hour

MUS221 Musicianship II – Lecture     3 hours

MUS221L Musicianship II – Lab     1 hour

MUS230 Live Sound Engineering     3 hours

MUS240 Rhythm Section I     3 hours

MUS299 Second-Year Project     1 hour

MUS360 Survey of Music Business     3 hours

MUS330 Recording Engineering     3 hours

MUS340 Rhythm Section II     3 hours

MUS420 Music Publishing     3 hours

MUS499 Senior Project     3 hours

Total     38 hours

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
    • MUS315 Private Music Instruction- Primary ............................................................................................................................................ 1 hour
    • MUS316 Private Music Instruction – Primary .......................................................................................................................................... 1 hour
    • MUS321 Arranging I...........................................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS405 Music Entrepreneurship ............................................................................................................................................................... 3 hours
    • MUS415 Private Music Instruction – Primary........................................................................................................................................... 1 hour
    • MUS421 Arranging II.........................................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS422 Songwriting........................................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS440 Rhythm Section III..........................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • Total...........................................................................................................................................................................18 hours
  • 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
    • MUS234 Sound Design.....................................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS336 Music for Film & Media.................................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS338 Electronic Music Production.......................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS430 Advanced Studio Production I....................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS431 Advanced Studio Production II...................................................................................................................................................3 hours
    • MUS405 Music Entrepreneurship ............................................................................................................................................................... 3 hours
    • Total...........................................................................................................................................................................18 hours

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

Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

Eric Brown

browneri@tiffin.edu

Adjunct Instructor of Music

Adjunct Instructor of Music

Degrees & Certificates
  • BA Professional Music, Tiffin University

Eric Brown

Eric Brown serves as Adjunct Instructor of Beatmaking and Live-Looping, as well as Recording Studio Engineer for TiffinMusic Studios. After receiving a BA in Professional Music from Tiffin University in 2014, he began his ongoing career as a freelance multi-instrumentalist and producer. He returned to TU in 2017 as a Graduate Assistant while pursuing a master's degree in music production from the Berklee School of Music.  A guitarist, bassist, pianist and producer, Eric also has his own studio in Columbus, Ohio, where he collaborates with a number of regional artists.​  "I enjoy being fully immersed in music and sound, and I love teaching it to people because it's changed my life so much." 

Eric Brown
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Eric Brown
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

Aly Horn

horna@tiffin.edu
419.448.3366

Instructor of Commercial Music

Managing Director of Creative Arts

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • BMus Music Education & Voice, Ashland University
  • MEd Higher Education Administration, Tiffin University
  • CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute training, Shenandoah University

Aly Horn

Aly Horn serves as the Managing Director of Creative Arts. She leads recruiting and retention activities, and manages the administrative functions of TU's active music, dance, art, theatre, and media arts activities. She is an Instructor of Commercial Music, teaching private voice lessons and courses within the Commercial Music major and she also directs and produces TU’s musical theatre productions, including Dogfight (2021), Spring Awakening (2020) and TU’s first-ever musical, Heathers (2019). Prior to TU, Aly taught in several Ohio public high schools, serving as Director of Choirs and director of musical theatre productions.  Trained in classical voice, she received her bachelor's degree in Music Education and Voice from Ashland University. She holds a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from Tiffin University and training in Commercial Voice Pedagogy from Shenandoah University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their Golden Retriever, Ruby.

Aly Horn
Instructor of Commercial Music
Aly Horn
Instructor of Commercial Music
seth_lowery
seth_lowery

Seth K. Lowery

lowerysk@tiffin.edu
419.448.3391

Instructor of Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • BMus Music Performance - Voice, Olivet Nazarene University
  • MMus Pedagogy - Voice (CCM), Shenandoah University

Seth K. Lowery

Seth K. Lowery serves as Instructor of Commercial Music at TU, teaching voice lessons and musicianship classes. Hailing from south Chicagoland, more specifically the city of Kankakee, he obtained his Bachelor of Music in Music Performance - Voice from Olivet Nazarene University, where he studied and performed a variety of styles of singing, including opera, oratorio, musical theatre, pop, jazz, gospel, and others. He was privileged to perform on the same stage as artists such as Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps, Allison Speer, and The Gaither Vocal Band. Most notably during his time at ONU, he toured for three years with a vocal ensemble which performed contemporary gospel music throughout the Midwest. He is an alumnus of The Shenandoah Conservatory, from which he obtained a Master of Music in Pedagogy - Voice, specializing in Contemporary Commercial Music. While in the process of becoming a "voice nerd" at Shenandoah, he had the opportunity to study voice pedagogy under such prominent teachers as Matt Edwards, Edrie Means-Weekly, Kathryn Green, David Meyer, and Elizabeth Blades, as well as studying jazz and songwriting under Mark Meadows and American Musical Theatre with Rick Edinger. In addition to gigging as a jazz musician and performing other styles, he has taken to the stage to perform roles in works such as The Merry Widow, Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, and others. Seth's first exposure to music was traveling with his family, singing southern gospel music at churches, campgrounds, and other venues throughout Appalachia, where his favorite lyric was, "There will always be one more song for you."

Seth K. Lowery
Instructor of Commercial Music
Seth K. Lowery
Instructor of Commercial Music
Alexandra Manfredo
Alexandra Manfredo

Alexandra Manfredo

manfredoai@tiffin.edu
419.448.3583

Assistant Professor of Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.M. Commercial Music, Milliken University
  • M.M. Jazz Studies, University of Miami

Alexandra Manfredo

Alex Manfredo, Assistant Professor of Music, currently teaches musicianship and songwriting courses, directs the Songwriting Ensemble, and oversees a studio of vocal students for private lessons. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music from Millikin University in Commercial Music, where she performed with the critically-acclaimed “OneVoice”, served as vocalist for the MU jazz band, and also served as recording studio manager for Millitrax. By age 22, Alex had already written, recorded, produced and distributed her own EP of original music. She also holds a master’s degree in Jazz Vocal Performance from the University of Miami, where she performed with various ensembles, shared the stage with jazz vocalists like Gretchen Parlato and Cyrille Aimee, and ran live sound for all kinds of ensembles -- from salsa orchestras to jazz bands with Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones. Alex is a native of Southern Illinois and has an unending love for basset hounds.

Alexandra Manfredo
Assistant Professor of Commercial Music
Alexandra Manfredo
Assistant Professor of Commercial Music
dan_myers
dan_myers

Dan Myers

myersdj@tiffin.edu

Assistant Professor of Commercial Music

Assistant Professor of Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • BM Jazz Studies, Western Michigan University
  • MFA Film Scoring, Columbia College of Chicago

Dan Myers

Dan Myers serves as an Assistant Professor of Music. He is a composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and writes music for film, television and the stage, and his original songs can be heard in major motion pictures, animation, and network television series. As a member of actor Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan Band, Dan has enjoyed the privilege of dueling on fiddle with Charlie Daniels at the Kennedy Center, performing for U.N. troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and debuting new music at the Ravinia Festival. Dan tours nationally with his Indie-folk band Stolen Silver, which has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and American Way Magazine. Dan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University and a Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition for the Screen from Columbia College. Contact: Visit www.thedanmyers.com 

Dan Myers
Assistant Professor of Commercial Music
Dan Myers
Assistant Professor of Commercial Music
Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

Drew Parent

parenta@tiffin.edu
419.448.3439

Director of Bands

Instructor of Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • BME Music Education, Saginaw Valley State University
  • MMus Percussion Performance, Central Michigan University

Drew Parent

Drew Parent serves as Director of Bands at Tiffin University, directing the TU Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, our premier touring ensemble Word On The Street (Funk/Fusion), and other small instrumental groups. He also teaches percussion/drumset lessons and general music courses. Mr. Parent has served as assistant marching band director at Trine University and drumline director at Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, and Central Michigan University. He has also taught and arranged percussion for many successful high school marching band programs in the Midwest that include Maumee High School, Springfield High School, Angola High School, Carroll High School, and Lake Orion High School. Along with teaching, Mr. Parent is also an active performer with his Detroit based percussion quartet Rela Percussion, as well as playing drums and percussion with many regional bands and artists. Mr. Parent received his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Saginaw Valley State University and his  master's degree in Percussion Performance from Central Michigan University.

Drew Parent
Director of Bands
Drew Parent
Director of Bands
Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

Jason Rawls

rawlsjd@tiffin.edu

Adjunct Instructor of Music

Degrees & Certificates
  • EdD, Ohio University

Jason Rawls

J Rawls serves as Visiting Instructor of Hip Hop & Music Business at Tiffin University, where he teaches music industry courses, coaches hip hop performers, teaches turntablism and beatmaking, and presents regular workshops on music industry topics.  Known for his work with Black Star, a hip hop group comprised of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Rawls contributed production on “Brown Skin Lady” and “Yo, Yeah,” which placed him on the map among independent hip hop producers. The album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star did was acclaimed as one of the best albums of 1998 and was a major force in the late-1990s underground hip hop explosion.  Rawls has also worked with Dose One, Beastie Boyz, Slum Village, El Da Sensei, Count Bass D, Grand Agent, 9th Wonder, J-Live, Us3, and Moka Only.  Rawls has released three solo albums, and contributed to or produced dozens of others, having worked with J-Live, Aloe Blacc, Eric Robertson, Dudley Perkins, and many others.  He is one-half of the duo The Lone Catalysts, with emcee J. Sands, having released four albums together.   Fusing jazz and hip hop, his 2006 work with The Liquid Crystal Project led to national acclaim for his collaboration with B-Jazz, Shaun Scott, B Chapman and Selah and their tribute to the legendary producer J Dilla.  His Columbus-based production company and record label continues to make an impact in the national hip hop scene, and he is in high demand as a DJ for top clubs and private functions around the country.  Rawls holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in education from Ashland University, and a doctorate in education from Ohio University. 

Jason Rawls
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Jason Rawls
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Bradley Rees
Bradley Rees

Bradley Rees

brees@tiffin.edu
419.448.3366

Vice Provost for Creative Arts

Associate Professor of Commercial Music

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.A. Music & Mass Communication, George Mason University
  • B.Mus. George Mason University
  • M.Mus. Choral Conducting, University of Northern Colorado
  • CAGS, Music Education, Boston University

Bradley Rees

Brad Rees, Executive Director of Arts Programs, conducts University Choirs, directs the award-winning a cappella ensemble Up in the Air, and teaches voice, music theory, music production & engineering, and music business. 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 holds degrees in choral conducting, voice, music education and public relations, and is an alum of Boston University, the University of Northern Colorado, Western Michigan University and George Mason University. 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 and TiffinMusic Publications

Bradley Rees
Vice Provost for Creative Arts
Bradley Rees
Vice Provost for Creative Arts
Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

BK Riha

rihabk@tiffin.edu

Instructor of Commercial Music

Arts Recruiting Assistant

School of Arts & Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • BA Music Theory & Voice, Ashland University
  • MM Choral Conducting, Kent State University

BK Riha

BK Riha serves as Arts Recruiting Assistant and Instructor of Music. She currently teaches Music Fundamentals and directs a vocal small group. In addition to her work at TU, BK is also a published a cappella arranger, producer, and clinician. Her arrangements have been performed by scholastic and professional groups across the globe, and she has led workshops on arranging, directing, music theory, and vocal percussion. BK is the founder, producer, and director of Zero to Sixty, Ohio’s summer a cappella group (non profit). She has a Master of Music in Choral Conducting (Kent State University) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory & Voice (Ashland University). In her spare time, BK enjoys reading tarot cards, solving logic puzzles, trying new recipes, and cuddling with her sassy rat terrier, Ellie.

BK Riha
Instructor of Commercial Music
BK Riha
Instructor of Commercial Music
Tiffin Faculty Member
Tiffin Faculty Member

Evan Whitted

whittedem@tiffin.edu

Affiliate Adjunct Instructor of Music

Affiliate Adjunct Instructor of Music

Degrees & Certificates
  • BM Music Business, Millikin University
  • MM Jazz Guitar, University of Illinois,

Evan Whitted

Evan Whitted serves as an Affiliate Adjunct Professor of Music, teaching music technology, music business, guitar and bass. He hails from the great state of having too many musical interests. He received his B.M. in Music Business at Millikin University, where he studied Classical Guitar, and his M.M. in Jazz Guitar from the University of Illinois. He has performed, recorded, and taught genres including: Rock, Jazz, Classical, and even a short stint as a Singer/Songwriter. He uses his varying musical background to be technically sound, as well as aurally accessible to all listeners.

Evan Whitted
Affiliate Adjunct Instructor of Music
Evan Whitted
Affiliate Adjunct Instructor of Music

Testimonials

  • "TU wasn’t just the place I went to get my degree. It was the place I grew up and I am forever thankful for my Dragon family. It’s always a great day to be a Dragon.”

    – Allison Marie Staunton, Class of 2016

    "TU wasn’t just the place I went to get my degree. It was the place I grew up and I am forever thankful for my Dragon family. It’s always a great day to be a Dragon.”  – Allison Marie Staunton, Class of 2016
  • "What I love about Tiffin University is the fact that I am learning about real-life experiences inside the classroom. Once I graduate, I know I will be prepared for a career in my field. I am thankful for the support I have received from my professors and classmates."

    - Hasan Abdul Elah, UAE

    "What I love about Tiffin University is the fact that I am learning about real-life experiences inside the classroom. Once I graduate, I know I will be prepared for a career in my field. I am thankful for the support I have received from my professors and
  • "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
  • The on-campus events and activities that are offered have made it easy to learn about a number of different topics. I also believe because of the diverse population here at TU it allows me to gain a broader perspective of different cultures and customs that I have not encountered before.

    -Payne VanTilburg '16

    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
  • Omar Alfehri
    "Tiffin is a small and very safe town. It is closely located to three international airports. People who live in this town are very friendly and open-minded to other cultures. As an international student, Tiffin University has been a good decision for me.”

    - Omar Alfehri, Saudi Arabia

    Omar Alfehri

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