Belmont University Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Pioneering Songwriting Major

Pictured (L-R): Doug Howard, Dean Curb College; Bo Thomas; Bob Fisher, Belmont President; James Elliott, Chair of Songwriting Program; Drew Ramsey, Songwriting Professor, James Thiele, Songwriting Professor.

Photos: Belmont University

Belmont University celebrated the 10th anniversary of its successful Songwriting major with an event at its own Ocean Way Nashville studios last night (Sept. 27). The program is one of the nation’s first undergraduate songwriting majors, and is part of the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, headed by Dean Doug Howard.

“Every segment of the music industry can trace its success back to songwriters and their amazing songs without which we would have nothing,” said Howard. “We are proud to celebrate our unique program and faculty that support, encourage, and educate aspiring student songwriters through direct interaction with the world’s finest professional songwriters and music publishers.”

James Isaac Elliott, chair of the songwriting department, said, “What makes this program successful are three key elements: the caliber of award-winning songwriters who teach our students, the challenging and innovative curriculum we offer, and the industry partners who come alongside us in developing the next generation of great writers.”

Among those award-winning faculty members are Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame members Pat Alger and Tom Douglas, who performed last night along with Warner Music Nashville artist/Belmont graduate Devin Dawson, and current students Anna Vaus and Jake Rogers, who already have publishing deals.

Additionally, the celebration featured a special presentation to Dawson. In honor of his success, Warner Music Nashville Chief Operating Officer Matt Signore and Senior Vice President A&R Cris Lacy presented an endowed $25,000 scholarship in Dawson’s name, and the university matched the contribution, creating a $50,000 endowed scholarship.

Currently, 260 Belmont students are majoring in songwriting.

Pictured (L-R): L-R: David Sassano, WMN; Sarah Cates, Belmont; James Elliott, Belmont; Devin Dawson; Cris Lacy, WMN; Matt Signore, WMN; Lisa Ray, WMN; Megan Joyce, WMN; Todd Ramey, Sandbox Management.

The Warner team announces the Devin Dawson Songwriting Scholarship at Belmont University. Pictured (L-R): Matt Signore, WMN; Cris Lacy, WMN; Devin Dawson.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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