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Commercial Music Major

School of Music

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jazz trumpet student performingThe major in Commercial Music is performance-based and requires 8 semesters of private applied study as well as a recital. Belmont's Commercial Music program is one of the oldest, most established and respected programs of its kind in the nation. Students study more contemporary styles of music such as jazz, pop, bluegrass, rock, R&B and more.

Emphasis Options

Composition and Arranging Emphasis

The Major in Commercial Music with Composition & Arranging emphasis provides the commercial music composition student with well-rounded skills in commercial orchestration for both small groups and larger symphonic ensembles. Many of our graduates have become influential composers and arrangers for the music industry in Nashville and beyond. 

To view the course listing, click here for instrumental (pdf) or click here for vocal (pdf).

*Each candidate must perform a vocal OR instrumental audition, as well as submit the below materials:

Two (2) songs in contrasting styles / tempos.

  • NOTE: For BOTH songs include:
    • Score or lead sheet
    • Lyric sheet (if lyrics not included on lead sheet)
    • Sound file

This emphasis must be confirmed after submission and approval of required material—typically by mid-term of the second semester.  Students who enter above Freshman level (or any student desiring immediate confirmation) should submit material at the time of audition or as soon as possible.  Please contact Maren Bishop, Director of Admissions for the College of Visual and Performing Arts for more details regarding submission of materials.


Music  Business Emphasis

The students who pursue the music business emphasis in the Commercial Music major leave Belmont with a diverse applied knowledge of the music industry and the capabilities of a performing musician.  In addition to core music courses such as applied lessons, music theory and ear training, students with a music business emphasis take a variety of courses in entertainment industry studies, recording technologies and the business of music.

To view the course listing, click here for instrumental (pdf) or click here for vocal (pdf).


Music Technology Emphasis 

Music Technology is a rapidly changing industry with possibility for exponential growth. Belmont's Commercial Music Major with Music Technology Emphasis students complete their program having a wide knowledge of MIDI programming and a portfolio that includes jingle projects, MIDI sequences, and film scoring assignments. As a culminating project, all students in this emphasis area are required to incorporate sequenced tracks into their senior recitals.

To view the course listing, click here for instrumental (pdf) or click here for vocal (pdf).

Purposes of the Major in Commercial Music / Music Technology Emphasis

Purpose 1

Students will demonstrate basic understanding of the scope, integrative nature, and functions of music technology

Purpose 2

Student will demonstrate knowledge of and ability to utilize various terminologies and procedures in music and music technology as employed in creation and production of music works.

Purpose 3

Students will demonstrate ability to solve music technology problems, particularly as they relate to music technology project development and production

Purpose 4

Student will demonstrate advanced capabilities in the area of digital musicianship.

Purpose 5

Students will demonstrate a basic knowledge of current technologies and technological principles associated with creating, presenting, and producing music.

Purpose 6

Students will demonstrate the ability to use industry standard technologies at a professional level, particularly those associated with artistic expression in both composition and performance.

Purpose 7

Students will demonstrate the ability to use and integrate music technology competencies in a final project/performance.


Performance Emphasis

The performance emphasis for the Commercial Music major provides an excellent learning environment for the student who wishes to pursue music in both the professional and/or academic arena. This emphasis gives students opportunity to study with instructors that are established musicians in the studio and performance platforms. Classes in theory, ear training, harmony, ensemble arranging, applied lessons, and class piano courses create the foundation of the commercial performance emphasis student.

comm music pic 2015209Performance emphasis students are given many outstanding opportunities for performing throughout their college years. Whether it may be singing with Phoenix, performing with peers in a variety of venues, or taking part in the auditions for our annual Commercial Music Showcase, the performance emphasis student graduates with practical training for the working musician.

To view the course listing, click here for instrumental (pdf) or click here for vocal (pdf).

*This emphasis must be confirmed by the applied faculty in the performance area at the end of the fourth semester jury.


Songwriting Emphasis

The Commercial Music Major with songwriting emphasis gives students an opportunity to explore and learn the craft of songwriting. The emphasis includes courses in commercial songwriting, lyric writing, and music technology. Songwriting students become top-notch songwriters in a variety of genres, including pop, rock, country, folk and R&B.

To view the course listing, click here for instrumental (pdf) or click here for vocal (pdf).

* Download the Songwriting Emphasis Application Information.

Each candidate must perform a vocal OR instrumental audition, as well as submit the below materials:

Two (2) songs in contrasting styles / tempos.

  • NOTE: For BOTH songs include:
    • Score or lead sheet
    • Lyric sheet (if lyrics not included on lead sheet)
    • Sound file

This emphasis must be confirmed after submission and approval of required material—typically by mid-term of the second semester.  Students who enter above Freshman level (or any student desiring immediate confirmation) should submit material at the time of audition or during the first semester.  Please contact Maren Bishop, Admissions Coordinator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, for more details regarding submission of materials.


Interested in learning more about the School of Music's audition process?

Audition Requirements
Audition Process