Carve your own path with concentrations in music business, music production, songwriting, and live touring and performance.
Steven Potaczek in sound booth

Students will become business-savvy musicians with the artistic, technological and entrepreneurial skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. The program instills and fosters a do-it-yourself attitude necessary for any musical entrepreneur ready to compete and succeed in today’s marketplace.

Why This Program?

  • Upon graduation, students will have a highly competitive skill set in musicianship, technical competency, and entrepreneurship, including songwriting and arranging, performing, musical production and recording, marketing and promotion, as well as copyright management and administration
  • Real-world opportunities for intellectual development, creative expression and the creation of potential revenue streams
  • Practical guidance toward an understanding of the music industry necessary to progress into professional practice
  • Samford's unique Catalyst program, which offers students the opportunity to build their professional portfolio prior to graduation
  • Collaborative experiences with peers and professionals within the music industry

Curriculum & Concentrations

What Will I Learn?

Intro to Music Business (MUSC 1810)

This course introduces students to music industry careers. It offers a broad overview of copyright, licensing, music publishing, collection and distribution of royalties, the record industry past and current, deal structures, product distribution, and the impact of rapidly changing technologies and media on the music business and culture at large.

Music Business Revenue Streams (MUSC 1820)

This course explores historical and contemporary models related to financial profit in music industry. Collaborative practicums engage students to analyze, evaluate and create real-world revenue streams. Emphasis is placed on entrepreneurship and networking, including the acquisition, exploitation, administration, and protection of songs in the contemporary music publishing business.

American Popular Music (MUSC 2840)

This course provides an overview of Western society popular music from late 19th century to present. Influential songs and songwriting styles will be surveyed and analyzed with emphasis placed on how various aspects of, and approaches to, songwriting have reflected and influenced society and culture, including the development of the music industry.

Commercial Music Seminar (MUSC 0080)

Student and faculty forum providing a learning environment dedicated to discussing and applying artistic, technological and entrepreneurial principles and skills within the commercial music context.

Commercial Music Songwriting (MUSC 2850)

Foundational course for writing compelling and commercially viable songs. Creative process includes analyzing melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structures prevalent in current market trends, learning best practices in melodic and lyrical writing, reviewing the history of popular song structures, and learning basic arrangement techniques to flesh out song demos that command an audience.

Recording Technologies I (MUSC 2830)

Foundational course in technology for commercial music production. Introduces students to Pro Tools and Ableton Live. Addresses topics such as signal flow of MIDI and audio flow within the DAW environment, sound processing plugins, recording gear, software synthesizers, quantizing and refining rhythmic grooves, and utilizing hybrid production techniques.

Recording Technologies II (MUSC 2835)

Advanced course in recording technology with concentrated study and practice in recording, editing, mixing and mastering. Topics include understanding and selecting appropriate hardware and/or software designs in EQ, compression, and reverb, practical microphone placement, and appropriate application of advanced mixing techniques. Emphasis is placed on audio perception skills for recording engineers.

Music Production I (MUSC 1190)

Students will elevate their proficiency in songwriting, arranging, audio engineering and administration. Learn how to arrange and write rhythm charts for session players, grow in understanding the fundamentals of using a DAW, improve their personal communication with artists/bands, and produce an actual artist/band as the final for the class.

Music Production II (MUSC 3860)

This course further delves into the production process, covering musical concepts of melody, rhythm, harmony and form as applied to the principles and techniques of writing and arranging for the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and basic percussion). Students also study melodic structures and focus on the conceptual process of combining individual components to create a musically satisfying arrangement.

Applied Instruction in Songwriting (MUSC 1190)

Private, applied instruction with advanced students who wish to delve further into concepts and practical exercises with an instructor.

Applied Instruction (MUSC 1180, 1183, 1181)

Private, applied instruction for students in the areas of acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, and drum set.

R&B Ensemble (MUSC 1780 and 3780)

 An auditioned ensemble that will study and perform seminal music from the funk/pop genre including music from the 1960s to the current era. Vocal and instrumental opportunities will be given for a full rhythm section, as well as a horn section. The repertoire covers well-known material, as well as encourages original compositions from students and faculty.

Live Performing and Touring (MUSC 3865)

Examines the business of public performance, including creating a brand for consumers and maximizing live performance techniques.

Key Practical Skills

  • Audience/Fan Engagement
  • Audio Engineering
  • Branding and Marketing
  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Industry Knowledge & Know-how
  • Music Arranging
  • Music Production
  • Project Management
  • Revenue Stream Creation
  • Songwriting
  • Touring and Live Performance

Professional Development

Samford has many programs in place to provide professional experience while pursuing this degree.

  • Samford’s unique Catalyst program provides students with custom-tailored professional development and projects used to create and build a working professional portfolio
  • Key internships and collaborative opportunities in Birmingham and beyond
  • Numerous ensembles that provide diverse performance and sound engineering opportunities
  • Annual Step Sing and Celebrate Christmas events offer practical application for performance and production

Career Opportunities

The technological advancements of the 20th and 21st centuries have created a proliferation of career opportunities for students interested in areas of commercial music. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for broadcast and sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028, while the jobs for marketing managers will also increase 8% from 2018 to 2028.

Artist Manager • Concert Promoter/Talent Agent • Creative Director • Entertainment Industry Entrepreneur Entertainment Law • Game Audio Designer • Music Producer • Music Products Industry • Music Publisher • Musical Director • Record Company Staff • Recording or Live Sound Engineer • Session/Touring Musician and/or Vocalist • Songwriter/Artist • Worship Leader