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Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Commercial Music Performance

A singer and musicians on stage.
Performance (Session Musician) A.A.S. Degree

Program Description

Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Commercial Music Performance Program prepares students for careers in the music industry. Students gain comprehensive training in the fundamental techniques necessary for studio recording and live performance. With hands-on experience provided by industry professionals, students develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to work in the ever-evolving professional music industry. Whether you’re an aspiring guitarist or seasoned singer looking to develop your talents, Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Commercial Music Performance Program will provide you with the skills needed to succeed.


With small class sizes and a dedicated faculty, students in the Music Performance Program receive individualized instruction utilizing professional instruments, materials and techniques employed in the commercial music industry. Courses in the Music Performance Program allow students to become proficient on an instrument or voice, gain experience as an ensemble member, study the fundamentals of music including sight-reading and piano skills, become familiar with music technology and record in professional recording studios. The Commercial Music Performance Program prepares students for a wide variety of careers as instrumentalists and vocalists in studio or live performance settings.

Graduates of the Music Performance Program at Lamar State College Port Arthur can look to find employment as a session musician, gigging/touring musician, beat maker, producer, music programmer, music director, music minister, music teacher, songwriter, composer, arranger and more.

Job Opportunities

Potential employment opportunities for students with a degree in Music Performance include studio recording, music production, soundtrack production, music composition, music arrangement, live music performance, broadcast music performance, music education, music programming, music editing, music production, music business, artist development and more. Potential employers include entertainment venues, recording studios, audio production companies, community groups, theaters, advertising agencies, publishing companies, independent soundtrack producers, bands, music producers and more.

Job and Wages


Carl Richardson
(409) 984-6353


  • Blas Canedo
  • Caleb Fontenot
  • Carl Richardson
  • Kenneth Q. Turner
  • Eddie Vandewalker

    Student Organizations

    • American Music Association (AMA)
    • American Federation of Musicians (AMF)
    • Electronic Music Foundation Student Chapter (EMF)


    What will my average annual income look like as a musician or music director/composer? 
    According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Musicians can expect to earn a mean hourly wage of $32.49 per hour. According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Music Directors and Composers can expect to earn a mean hourly wage of $26.55 per hour. According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Music Directors and Composers can expect to have a 2.3% job growth from 2012 – 2022. According to the United States Department of Labor Careeronestop, Musicians can expect to have an 18% job growth in the state of Texas from 2012 – 2022.
    Will I be able to work on the type of music that I am interested in?
    Students are able to focus on a specific area of commercial music while studying an array of popular forms of music from rock to rap and country to Cajun; students work and develop skills in a variety of genres.
    Does Lamar State College Port Arthur have a dedicated performance space?
    The Commercial Music Program has a dedicated Music Hall that is used for rehearsals, individual lessons, group lessons, live recordings and live performances.
    Does Lamar State College Port Arthur have recording studios?
    There are three professional recording studios that are available to all students enrolled in the Commercial Music Program. In addition to the recording studios, Lamar State College Port Arthur has both a Mac based music production/programming lab and a PC based music composition lab. 
    What type of equipment will I be able to use at Lamar State College Port Arthur?
    You will have access to industry standard musical instruments, amplifiers, recording, editing and mixing equipment. You will be able to use an array of professional equipment from Korg, Moog, Shure, Fender, Vox, Ampeg, Apple, Avid, JBL, Soundcraft, Yamaha and more.
    Are there student practice rooms and practice instruments that I can use between or after classes?
    There are three dedicated soundproof practice rooms that students have access to Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. When class is not in session students are able to practice in the Music Hall and other music classrooms. The Commercial music program provides students with access to practice pianos, drums, percussion, keyboards, guitars, basses, amps, and microphones.  
    How long will it take to complete the degree?
    It typically takes two years to complete an Associates of Arts and Science in Music Performance. A Level 1 Certificate in Music takes one year to complete.
    Will my courses in a certificate program transfer to the degree?
    If you begin with the certificate program, all of the courses will transfer to the degree program.
    What types of courses are in the degree plan?
    This degree requires courses in music theory, piano, music arranging, music composition, music history, music production, music programming, studio recording and individual performance instruction on bass, guitar, piano, drums or vocals.
    Do you have job placement assistance?
    Lamar State College-Port Arthur does provide job assistance.  The college has a job board that all students can access throughout their time at school.  Upon graduation, you can provide the job placement office with a current resume, and they will send it out to prospective employers. The faculty in the Commercial Music Department will work with you to make you aware of positions that match your skill sets.
    Do you offer internships for this degree?
    There are internship opportunities for all music performance students.  Typically during your final two semesters on campus, you will work as an intern at a local studio, performance venue, house of worship, community organization or with a band.  This internship experience can be placed on your resume as professional experience. Many internships have led to networking opportunities, part-time employment and full-time employment.

    Student Testimonials

    Below are testimonials from students in the Music Performance program.
    “It has been a great learning experience attending Lamar State College. The instructors really prepared me for my next step in life. The students, my classmates, were very supportive as well as my instructors and all the staff. I felt at home in this school. I enjoyed these two years of my life doing what I love with people like me.” Antonio Briones Graduated in the spring of 2015

    “I choose to attend Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Commercial Music Program after playing guitar for 25 years because I wanted to take my skills to the next level. The Commercial Music Program provided me with the tools, equipment and instructors to help me reach my goal.” Aaron Williams Graduated in the summer of 2015

    “My experience at Lamar State College Port Arthur has been a great experience. I have learned many things that are vital to my chosen career path. All of the instructors have valuable information and are genuine in their efforts to help you to succeed as a student. The instructors are willing to go out of their way to talk to you one on one and set up meeting times to give you clarity and insight on topics. The atmosphere is great for learning and making new friends.” David Broussard Spring 2015
    Recommended Program of Study
    Course Number Title SCH
    First Year
    Fall Semester
    MATH 1314 or 
    MATH 1332
    College Algebra or 
    Contemporary Mathematics I
    MUSI 1303 Fundamentals of Music 3
    MUSI 1181 Piano Class I 1
    MUSP 12XX Applied Commercial Music Elective 2
    MUSP 1242 Small Commercial Music Ensemble 2
    SPCH 1315 Public Speaking 3
    Spring Semester
    ENGL 1301 Composition I 3
    MUSP 12XX Applied Commercial Music Elective 2
    MUSP 1240 Large Commercial Music Ensemble: Band 2
    MUSC 1211 Commercial Music Sight Singing and Ear Training I 2
    MUSC 1213 Commercial Music Theory I 2
    MUSC 1331 MIDI I 3
    MUSI 1182 Piano Class II 1
    Summer Semester
    PSYC 1300 Learning Framework 3
    Second Year
    Fall Semester
    MUSP 12XX Applied Commercial Music Elective 2
    MUSP 1253  Small Commercial Music Ensemble: Rock 2
    MUSC 2211 Commercial Music Sight Singing and Ear Training II 2
    MUSC 2213 Commercial Music Theory II 2
    MUSP 2103 Commercial Class Piano 1
    MUSC 1321 Songwriting I 3
    MUSI 1310 American Music 3
    Spring Semester
    MUSC 2330 Commercial Music Arranging and Composition 3
    MUSP 12XX Applied Commercial Music Elective 2
    MUSP 1151 Small Commercial Music Ensemble: Recording 1
    MUSB 1305 Survey of the Music Business 3
    MUSP 1202 Introductory Group Voice 2
    MUSC 1235 Commercial Music Software 2
    Total 60