American Songwriter Teams with School of Rock for Their Songwriter Showcase Program

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“If you wanna rock, you gotta break the rules,” Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn famously said in the 2003 film School of Rock.

Five School of Rock songwriting students, chosen from School of Rock locations across the country, got a crash course on the music industry and breaking the rules to achieve one’s dream when American Songwriter hosted the School of Rock Songwriter Showcase at our Nashville offices earlier this month. The three-day event (Oct. 6-8) offered an immersive experience to the students who were selected based on the outstanding lyrics, melody, and songcraft of their original works.

Throughout the weekend, the students participated in panels featuring American Songwriter staff, industry executives, and the Nashville community’s esteemed songwriters. American Songwriter’s Managing Editor Annie Reuter and Big Machine Label Group’s Quinn Kaemmer discussed their respective journeys into the music industry. During the Q&A, Quinn shared her behind-the-scenes view on creating a media campaign from the ground up for country superstars Lainey Wilson and Jelly Roll as well as how she partners with different media companies like American Songwriter to get her artists press.

[RELATED: School of Rock’ and Sonic Youth Member Jim O’Rourke Had to Teach Miranda Cosgrove How to Sing Poorly ]

Songwriter and Dir. of Membership at American Songwriter Dean Fields moderated a panel with Warner Chappell Music staff writer Stone Aielli, who wrote and produced Priscilla Block’s “My Bar” and “I Bet You Wanna Know,” and Universal Music Publishing Group writer Adam James, who wrote Kenny Chesney’s ACM-nominated Song of the Year “Knowing You” as well as songs for Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, and Cody Johnson. The trio of songwriters offered their experiences as artists and songwriters in Nashville. They also performed some songs and answered burning questions from the students and School of Rock staff on breaking into the profession, their respective paths, and best songwriting practices.

“I loved being at the intersection of the pro songwriters reflecting on their own journeys from teenage dreamers to No. 1 songwriters and the students lighting up at the firsthand accounts of where their dreams can take them,” Fields tells American Songwriter.

Following the breakout sessions at American Songwriter’s offices, the students headed to Diamond Sound Studios to workshop and rehearse the full arrangements of their original music with the House Band from School of Rock Nashville and School of Rock Franklin. The following day (October 8), the five students visited the iconic Starstruck Studios to record their songs before closing the weekend with a songwriter showcase performance alongside the School of Rock Nashville and Franklin House Band in front of a lively crowd at American Songwriter.

School of Rock’s Songwriting Program teaches the fundamentals of songwriting, arrangement, and music theory, and helps students compose original works. Enrolled students around the world had the opportunity to audition for the Showcase by submitting an original song which was evaluated on the originality and effectiveness of music and lyrics, depth of arrangement and potential for full-band arrangement, and the proficiency and performance ability of the songwriter.

For more information on the School of Rock, visit the organization’s website.

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Photo Courtesy American Songwriter

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