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CCM Music, University of CincinnatiCollege-Conservatory of MusicMusicUniversity of Cincinnati

CCM Music, University of Cincinnati

Commercial Music Production

CCM’s bachelor of music degree in Commercial Music Production (CMP) offers a comprehensive education in professional commercial music studies. This unique program combines core training in music theory, composition, arranging and musicianship combined with recording studio techniques, commercial music and media technologies.

The CMP degree includes an additional emphasis on entrepreneurial business acumen by inclusion of a Minor in Entrepreneurship from UC’s Lindner College of Business. This creates a vibrant and exclusive educational experience that provides graduates with numerous opportunities for meaningful employment in the music industry.

Graduates will possess skills in these areas:

  • composition for television and commercial media
  • producing, mixing, running live sound
  • songwriting and scoring
  • music technology and related technologies
  • studio production techniques (editing, mixing and mastering)
  • film scoring
  • music business and entrepreneurship
  • career management

Who Should Apply?

If you are composing songs in any style (singer/songwriter, jazz composers, classical composers, film scorers, rock and roll, computer music, R&B, country, etc.) and have working theory knowledge and are able to write out your compositions in a clear way, you may be a good candidate for this program. CMP is an ideal program for applicants interested in studio production, recording, and the editing side of the industry.

An ability to read and write music is required for entrance into the CMP program.

Applicants should have a major instrument for audition purposes; vocalists and non-traditional instruments are encouraged to apply, all instruments are considered.

Although this degree includes music production, editing, business and studio technical training, it is important to note that this is music degree, not a degree in music technology, music industry, audio or recording. Successful CMP applicants are expected to have significant musical training and study.

What Else Do You Need?

Applicants will be expected to supply at least two examples of their original compositions, tunes, etc. Any style will be accepted, including classical, jazz, rock/pop, gospel, R&B, contemporary or computer generated music. Questions can be directed to Director of Commercial Music Production Kim Pensyl at

We need to see the actual scores or lead sheets showing clearly notated rhythm, pitches, chords (as applicable), etc. The more detail the better. We will also need to review recordings of these pieces. These can be live, studio, or computer-generated MIDI performances, but you must be able to provide MP3 versions. You will need to upload these along with your application; see below for details.

Please Note: If you are working in a computer-generated music platform such as Ableton or Pro Tools, simply printing a totally computer-produced print out for submission is not generally acceptable. The scores should be readable by actual performers. Your score should demonstrate your ability to notate the music you have composed.

Application Process

Applicants must audition/interview in Cincinnati on the scheduled CCM Audition Dates.

Each candidate must upload their pre-screening requirements  to by Dec. 1. See below for more information on these requirements.

Important Note: Each applicant must also apply to CCM. The pre-screening material does not include your common application, test scores, or your two letters of recommendation. At least one of these letters of recommendation should address the applicant’s specific musical qualifications for success in the program.

Pre-Screening Requirements

All applicants must submit a complete portfolio for review to

Application materials for the portfolio include:

  • MP3 audio files consisting of two original compositions in any style.
    • These recordings may be from live performances, studio productions or computer generated via sequenced MIDI tracks or files exported from notation software programs.
  • Scores, lead sheets, chord charts or chord charts with lyrics of the submitted compositions.
    • It is highly recommended that the submitted scores, lead sheets and chord charts be the same as the submitted recordings. This will give you the best chance to receive an audition.
    • Finale or Sibelius software is encouraged, although handwritten scores are acceptable for the pre-screening.
  • Documentation of your role in all submitted materials.
    • Note if you performed on the original songs and what instrument/instruments you played.
    • Note if you engineered and/or produced the recording.
    • List the instrument/voice that you would take for applied lessons if admitted to the program.

Audition/Interviews are by invitation only. CCM Admissions will notify you if you passed the pre-screening and what date you are scheduled for. However, if you pass the pre-screening but have not applied to CCM, Admissions will not be able to schedule the audition.

Live Audition Requirements

A music audition and interview are required to determine satisfactory potential for the degree program.

International students should contact CCM's Office of Admissions if they are unable to attend the live audition.

There will be a sound system available with microphones, a complete drum set, guitar amp, bass amp, and a Steinway Grand Piano. You can use a backing track from your phone or laptop with the proper cabling. We will provide a 1/8” stereo cable to plug into your headphone output. If you need any other type of cable, you will need to bring that with you.

The audition will consist of:

  • Performance of two original compositions. 
    • Applicant needs to bring four copies of a score or lead sheet for the compositions performed.
  • Interview that will consist of:
    • Your knowledge and use of technology, like Logic and Pro Tools.
    • Your musical background development in school and private lessons.
    • Your experience, performances, and productions.
    • Your career goals.
  • Other questions could involve your main areas of interest.

To be admitted to a bachelor's program at the University of Cincinnati, you must have fulfilled the high school requirements recommended by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents.

For more information, contact CCM’s Office of Admissions and Student Services at 513-556-9479 or