MTSU Songwriting Program to broaden tools for succ...

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

In this 2016 file photo, MTSU songwriting students are shown with Grammy-winning producer Kenny Greenberg (holding guitar) at Omni Sound Studios in Nashville. (Photo courtesy of MTSU Songwriting)

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 Commercial Songwriting Program.

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

Odie Blackmon, director, MTSU Commercial Songwriting Program

Odie Blackmon

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

Academy of Country Music's Lifting Lives Foundation logo

He’s invited a variety of music industry professionals from just up Interstate 24 in Nashville, Tennessee, to give students the opportunity to pick their brains and provide feedback about student projects. Blackmon said 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, “Creative Music Publishing,” in January 2018.

Blackmon said the new 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.

recording industry logo webThe 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 More details on the Department of Recording Industry, a part of the university’s College of Media and Entertainment, are available at

— Jayla Jackson (