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.

Core Curriculum of the School of Arts & Sciences 18 hours

  • ENG152 Technical Writing
  • DMD134 Introduction to Digital Media
  • DMD230 Digital Video I
  • COM310 Human, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication
  • COM324 Communicating Across Cultures
  • SAS470 Internship

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

  • MUS100 Music Convocation
  • MUS105 Musician Success Seminar
  • MUS115 Private Music Instruction – Primary
  • MUS116 Private Music Instruction – Primary
  • MUS121 Musicianship I – Lecture
  • MUS121L Musicianship I – Lab
  • MUS130 Introduction to Music Technology
  • MUS215 Private Music Instruction – Primary
  • MUS216 Private Music Instruction – Primary
  • MUS221 Musicianship II – Lecture
  • MUS221L Musicianship II – Lab
  • MUS230 Live Sound Engineering
  • MUS240 Rhythm Section I
  • MUS299 Second-Year Project
  • MUS360 Survey of Music Business
  • MUS330 Recording Engineering
  • MUS340 Rhythm Section II
  • MUS420 Music Publishing
  • MUS499 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

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
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

Testimonials

  • 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
  • "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
  • “The main challenge I overcame in order to become a Dragon was the language barrier and the financial situation. However, Tiffin University gave the opportunity to join my passion for soccer with my dream of having an education in the U.S. As part of the soccer team, I was able to overcome my language barrier and have the best experience of my life. For that, I will always be thankful.”

    Talita Russo
    Class of 2013
    Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Students in game room
  • Sean M Durocher - Class of 2015
    "Tiffin University was my top choice when searching for colleges. I knew with nationally recognized Criminal Justice Programs, I would receive the best education for my future career goals. Because my undergraduate experience was so positive and rewarding, I have pursued my Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at TU working as a graduate assistant for First-Year Programs. As a GA, I have been able to give back to an institution that has given so much to me and my fellow classmates. Go Dragons!”

    – Sean M. Durocher, Class of 2015

    Sean M Durocher - Class of 2015
  • 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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