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 …

Testimonials

  • Ivan Santiago - Class of 2015
    "I chose TU because of its reputation for excellence, national recognition, many extracurricular opportunities and because it offers in a small, diverse college environment. I have learned the significance of academics, leadership, diversity, communication, and relationships. TU allowed me to get out of my comfort zone in order to lead and inspire. It has prepared me to make wise and imperative decisions that will benefit me in my career and my life.”

    – Ivan Santiago, Class of 2015

    Ivan Santiago - Class of 2015
  • John Carpenter
    "I chose Tiffin University because of the curriculum, the online opportunities, and the fact that it is a brick-and-mortar school close to my home. I made many invaluable contacts through my TU experience."

    – John Carpenter

    John Carpenter
  • “There is always gonna be a little doubt in any person's mind when it comes to new things. But for me, I think proving people, who said I couldn't do it, wrong is my biggest motivation. There's really nothing that seems impossible to me anymore, the world is constantly changing and I feel like I am much more capable of adapting to those changes now compared to when I was walking on to TU's campus for the first time.”

    Alexandra Tozzie
    Class of 2018
    Louisville, Colorado

    Students in game room
  • "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
  • Xin Guo
    "The aspects of Tiffin University that I really like include low tuition cost and the fact that there are generous scholarships available for international students. Tiffin’s quiet atmosphere makes it easy to concentrate on your studies, but the surrounding cities have plenty to explore including a vibrant entertainment scene.”

    - Xin Guo, China

    Xin Guo

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