Commercial Music

Cal State LA Commercial Music

Programs of Study

We offer both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Commercial Music.  The programs are designed to provide rigorous training and real-world experience to prepare students to compete and thrive as professionals in the field.


BM Degree

The Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music allows students to emphasize Composition and Arranging, Performance, or Music Technology.  Each area includes private lessons with experienced pros in the field as well as extensive coursework, live performance experience, and studio recording.


Music making is collaborative.  Thus, in addition to in-depth training in each area of specialization, there is a strong emphasis in our degree programs on cross-training.  We expect our composers to be performers and to understand recording and mixing; our performers take introductory courses in film scoring, songwriting, recording, mixing, and using DAWs; and our tech majors perform and learn scoring and songwriting basics.


MM Degree

The Master of Music in Commercial Music allows advanced students to receive master’s degrees with emphases on Composition/Arranging or Performance. Our MM students do not do theses; rather, they create Graduate Projects reflecting their area of study.  These may include a film score, and CD, and/or a recital.


Flexible degree options

Our program are flexible.  Composition/Arranging students may focus their work primarily on scoring for film, TV, and games, or they may take a Singer/Songwriter path, or focus primarily on Record Production and Arranging. Performers are encouraged to perform not only in our Commercial Music Ensemble, but to explore the other performance opportunities offered by the Music Department such as the various jazz ensembles, Afro-Latin ensembles, choral ensembles, and more. Technology students record not only rock and pop and R&B and Singer/Songwriter style music, but the jazz ensembles, concert band, choirs and chamber music.


The Cal State LA Experience

Real-world Creation

In addition to student recitals and projects, our program includes one year of Studio Practicum, where students take what they’ve learned and work together in our studios to create professional-level content.  The class includes students specializing in composition and arranging, record production, engineering and mixing, songwriting, and vocal and instrumental performance. There is no lecture component: it’s 100% collaborative creation, with each student contributing their specialized skills and training.


The Role of the Artist

In addition to skills-based training and creativity, we believe that to be a truly great artist one must know and cherish the works of the greats who have paved the way.  It is also incumbent on a true artist to be a voice for change within the culture when necessary, and to create works that “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable;” in other words, to sow mindfulness and compassion in those who listen.  To that end, our course work also includes course work in history and aesthetics.


Finding Your Voice

The ultimate goal of the rigorous training we provide is to give the student the tools to find their own creative niche, to move beyond training and technique to a place of truly relevant creativity. In short, we help you be the best “you” you can be as a musician.