Published on May 13, 2020 by Ashley Smith  
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Samford’s Division of Music is launching a new area of study in commercial music leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music with concentrations in Music Business, Music Production, Songwriting, and Live Touring and Performance. The School of the Arts hired Steven Potaczek last fall to develop the curriculum and it was officially approved by the Board of Trustees on May 5, 2020.   

Potaczek is a seasoned professional in commercial music and brings over 20 years of recording and production experience to Samford.  He is excited to enroll students into this program and noted, “My goal is to help students leave this place and fly. The classes offered in Commercial Music will teach students the artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial skills they need to not only survive in today's rapidly-changing landscape, but thrive. The program aims to instill and foster a do-it-yourself attitude necessary for any entrepreneur ready to compete and succeed in today’s marketplace. To me, this equates to being focused on helping musical artists and students discover and express their potential as creative careerists.”  

The brand-new curriculum is built from the ground up. Potaczek said, “The industry changes so fast these days with the technological disruptions that occur practically every day! This is a 21-century program that will continually evolve because the scene is always evolving.” Examples of some of the course offerings are: Intro to the Music Business, Music Business Revenue Streams, Contemporary Music Songwriting, Music Production, and Recording Technology.   

The program will provide several new components that will enhance the student experience.   A new R & B performance ensemble is planned to include vocal and instrumental students and will explore more contemporary artists. As the program grows, additional tech spaces will also be developed to enhance student work.

Potaczek has worked as a music producer with some of the top names in the industry (The Band Perry, Josh Garrels, and Skillet to name a few) and partnered with organizations such as MTV, National Geographic, and the Heartland Film Festival. As a major label artist, he toured nationally with a Billboard Top 40 hit and landed musical placements on several prominent television shows such as Parks and Rec, New Girl, and CBS Evening News. This extensive network of professional relationships within the arts, music, and entrepreneurial communities will allow students a unique vantage point as they pursue this degree. 

According to Associate Dean of the Division of Music Eric L. Mathis, “We are excited to provide this opportunity to both our current students and those interested in pursuing this degree.  Having Potaczek on board with his extensive industry experience broadens opportunities not only in the Division of Music but across the School of the Arts.”