The Commercial Music program in MSUM’s School of Performing Arts provides exciting opportunities, exposing you to all areas of music—from performance and composition/arranging in contemporary styles to business, entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology. The Commercial Music degree will prepare you for careers in the commercial, jazz and popular music industries as a performer, composer or arranger, while developing skills in areas of studio and live recording, and music business and law.
Music faculty possess impressive artistic and professional credentials, with an emphasis on active professional performance and a strong commitment to teaching. Faculty members work as commercial musicians and recording artists in Fargo-Moorhead and national arenas. They bring extensive experience as composers, arrangers and performers in an array of commercial areas, including jazz combos, jazz big bands, salsa groups, pop, rock, film, music, advertising, recording arts and freelance performing.
You’ll receive training in performing, composing and arranging in a variety of commercial styles, including jazz and popular music. You’ll also gain experience in audio recording, studio and live recording and music business. The Commercial Music program seamlessly combines with the Entertainment Industries and Technology major or minor, offering additional preparation for careers in the music industry.
The School of Performing Arts facilities include Fox Recital Hall, Glasrud Auditorium, Hansen Theatre, Gaede Stage, along with 25 private practice rooms and access to three recording studios. As a student in the School of Performing Arts, you’ll have 24-hour access to the building in order to practice when it fits your schedule.
Joining one of MSUM’s 11 commercially oriented vocal or instrumental ensembles will broadly expand your performance repertoire and help you build your skills as a performer. Commercial Music students perform in the pop/rock commercial ensemble, jazz combos, jazz big band, vocal pop group, musical theatre ensemble and the jazz guitar ensemble.
Music students are eligible for a large number of scholarships throughout their career at MSUM. You’re able to audition each year for scholarships awarded based on musical talent.
The MSUM Music program is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Accreditation assures the highest quality music program, professional training as a musician, and a commitment to student success.
Music Student Success Stories
Sierra is an MSUM senior majoring in commercial music and entertainment industries and technology. She can play the euphonium, bassoon, tenor sax, violin, guitar, trumpet, French horn, clarinet, keyboard, string bass and more. On her way to becoming a film composer, Sierra is a multi-talented performer who continually embraces new challenges in the realm of music.
Brandon Van Den Eykel, a Curriculum and Instruction graduate student at MSUM, will be an instructor for this summer's OAKE-certified Kodály program after feeling the impact of the program on his own career.
Meet Dayna Del Val, a proud Dragon with strong ties to MSUM and a passion for the arts in our community. The 1995 theatre graduate is the President & CEO of The Arts Partnership and has served on the MSUM Foundation board of directors since June 2020.
MSUM’s Commercial Music program offers a unique and wide selection of learning opportunities to give you a well-rounded educational experience. Whether you call it engaged learning, experiential learning or just being adventurous, we hope you will explore the options that spark your interests, strengths and passions.