MTSU Songwriting to broaden tools for success with $10K ACM grant

Dec 15, 2017 at 11:00 am by Voice Wire

MTSU songwriting students are receiving beneficial advice from visiting professionals and getting a curriculum boost thanks to the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Foundation.

For the second time, MTSU has received a $10,000 grant from an arm of the ACM that will financially support curriculum development provided by the Department of Recording Industry’s continuous Commercial Songwriting Program.

“I’m really grateful they wanted to help us,” program director Odie Blackmon said.


Blackmon noted that adding classes and professors to the songwriting program the past three years aided in its growth from 94 songwriting students to what is now a group of about 140 aspiring professionals.

He invites a variety of professionals from the thriving music industry just up I-24 in Nashville, Tennessee, to give students the opportunity to pick their brains and get feedback about student projects. He hopes to use any extra grant funds to reimburse the pros’ expenses for visits during the spring 2018 semester.

“I tend to treat their visits as practice for when the students go to the studio in Nashville where platinum records have been made … that’s where I conduct a mock-publishing deal,” he said.

Funds from the grant will also help launch the MTSU Department of Recording Industry’s new course titled “Creative Music Publishing” that is set to launch in January 2018.

According to Blackmon, this class will allow students to learn the ins and outs of content management and make it easier for them to categorize songs and demos through the website Songspace.

“This tool will help students receive the real-world experience and level the playing field between other music departments,” he said.

The ACM Lifting Lives Foundation is a philanthropic association that develops education programs and promotes music-related opportunities for groups ranging from music camps to people with disabilities interested in music therapy.

For more information about MTSU’s Commercial Songwriting Program, visit details on the Department of Recording Industry are available at

— Jayla Jackson (

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