Commercial Music

"Commercial Music" is the repertoire and performance practice of commercially viable and popular music from roughly 1900 through the present. A cross section of styles and musics occur in this time period, and serve as the basis of what a successful contemporary, popular music performer must master to succeed in a diverse artistic market.

The Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music degree concentration is an exciting performance degree option recently approved and implemented by the Scheidt School of Music. While the degree follows many of the same Tennessee Higher Education Commission and NASM guidelines, it is a hybrid of three outstanding degrees offered by the School of Music.


  • The understanding and comprehension of performance practice in the field of Commercial Music. This historically covers a wide range of music: rock, country, jazz, operetta, bluegrass, gospel, tin pan alley, classical, Afro-Latin, ethnic, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, musical theater, etc.
  • Development of a distinctive individual voice and style. As an individual musician and artist, the Commercial Music student will master writing and developing their own repertoire and achieve competency in composition and arranging.
  • The ability to accurately and artistically read/sing/play any contemporary style or work required by the contractor. This can range from studio recording sessions, to background music for advertising or film, to performing live with other artists/groups.
  • The understanding of contemporary industry techniques and technology. The Commercial Music student will master techniques and technology used to prepare, perform, record and market in today's commercial music market. This also includes the ability to navigate a career and work with others in a variety of professional settings, and in a business-like manner.


Commercial Music students will be required to complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to earn a degree. Additionally, students will be required to complete a culminating final project that includes a recital, studio 'EP/demo' and written analysis of the project.

View the sample degree outline at //www.soco-age.com/music/future/outlines.php.


Degree seeking students must apply to both the University of Memphis AND the Scheidt School of Music. At the time of application and audition to the Commercial Music degree program, the same level of musical virtuosity, technique, music theory, and sight reading ability is required as for any other music performance degree.

Appropriate repertoire and style is stressed in this audition process.

Sight reading for ability and accurate pitch recognition is emphasized at time of audition.

View audition repertoire guidelines for Commercial Music at //www.soco-age.com/music/future/aud-req.php.

Applicants are approved and accepted at time of admission to the Scheidt School of Music by each individual applied studio: voice, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, bass, 500 Internal Server Error

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into all concentrations and will have the final approval for prospective Commercial Music students.

For more information, contact the Department Head:

Jack Cooper, D.M.A.
Jazz and Commercial Music Area
(901) 678-2547
G-3 Music Bldg.