ICMP students enjoyed the opportunity to visit Nashville’s brilliant Tin Pan South Festival to network, perform and learn from some of the world’s best songwriters.
Led by ICMP's Head of Songwriting Sophie Daniels and Jonathan Whiskerd, Programme Leader for BA Songwriting, ICMP students spent five days immersing themselves in the event at the world renowned 'Music City'.
Alongside performing and networking at the festival, students also had the chance to meet and collaborate with students from Belmont University to perform and share ideas.
Nashville: the home of songwriting
Sophie Daniels said: "Nashville is to songwriting what Hollywood is to film. There’s a huge, busy community of writers, writing country, pop music or co-writing and more hit songwriters there than any other city in the world.
Jonathan said: "You find the best songwriters in the world homing their crafts and working with amazing artists in Nashville. You can hear these writers playing these songs in their most stripped back, organic form."
The trip offers our students an amazing opportunity to learn about the profession of songwriting as well as the craft. We want our students to feel inspired and motivated to improve as songwriters. Taking part in this gives them a unique insight into songwriting you can’t experience anywhere else."
Tin Pan South
ICMP students had the opportunity to attend the Tin Pan South festival, hearing performances, enjoying networking opportunities and getting songwriting advice including feedback from professionals at US industry body, ASCAP.
Tin Pan South is organised by the Nashville Songwriting Association International (NSAI) and is the only songwriting festival in the world with a focus on the often unseen talents behind many of music's biggest hits. Typically, writers perform and talk about their creations in rounds, giving insight into how their songs are created.
BA Songwriting student Daniel Jacklin said: "Regardless of the size of the audience, everyone is so attentive at the rounds we went to. You could hear a pin drop in the rooms where Grammy Award winning writers were giving stories behind the songs.
A highlight for me was meeting Natalie Hemby at one of these events. She contributed to 'Golden Hour', Kacey Musgrave's Grammy Award winning album. To see her in the round and hear the stories behind the songs was amazing. I got to speak to her afterwards, took her email and she's since given me invaluable advice about collaborating and writing."
Performances and feedback
Alongside hearing from some of greatest songwriters, ICMP students also had the opportunity to showcase their own music via writing and feedback sessions. Many took part in a writers round at Belmont University, playing their music to industry professionals and fellow students.
Commenting on the experience, Satch Satchell said: "I began writing with Molly Lyon who I met through Belmont. My publisher put me in touch with Steve Diamond who’s written more hits than you can shake a stick at! I networked like there was no tomorrow! And continued in New York on the way home. I’m still collaborating with ASCAP, Steve, Molly and other people I met remotely. I learned more in the week about songwriting than I have in the rest of my career."
The feedback session with US collecting society ASCAP saw ICMP students perform their music to an industry panel including Ralph Murphy associate Bonnie Baxter.
Daniel Jacklin said:
It was amazing to get feedback from someone who has had so much influence and worked with such great artists. It was interesting to put our own music into Nashville, to get a sense of how to pitch it and put our songs in a professional environment in music city."
Alongside writing, our students also demonstrated that they can successfully network with some of the biggest names in the world of songwriting.
Sophie Daniels said: "Some of our students went to see Amy Wadge, Grammy Award winning co-writer of Ed Sheeran's 'Thinkin' Out Loud' . Our students approached her and asked for guidance. Many are in email contact with her now and we’re hoping she will play our Songwriters' Circle event via these new connections."
ICMP has strong links with Nashville via its relationship with Belmont University, just one of many international partnerships our students can take advantage of while studying with us.
Sophie Daniels said: "We know a lot of the songwriting community and enjoy a close working relationship with Belmont. We also have close links with the NSAI, a lobbying body for songwriters. The UK chapter is run at ICMP and helps our students get even closer to the global songwriting community."
Emma Moore, MA Songwriting student, said:
The connections we made thanks to ICMP were invaluable. We got to meet people who you would never have otherwise met. The whole experience was a great way of bridging geographical gaps between musicians."
The importance of Nashville in your songwriting journey
For anyone serious about their songwriting and learning the craft, a visit to Nashville is essential with the level of story-telling skill on offer like nowhere else.
Emma said: "Visiting Nashville and hearing from these great writers showed me there’s not a single word wasted when it comes to the best writing. There’s no filler in the top songs and the congruence between lyric and melody is prominent. It really makes you want to up your game."
So would she recommend the trip?
Emma said: "It’s invaluable ICMP encourages people help students go to Nashville. It’s a city dripping with music, you can’t go anywhere or meet anyone who isn’t musical. it gets in your skin and has a really magical energy - it's just so inspiring."
Watch our video round up of the trip:
Find your unique identity as a writer on our BA (Hons) Songwriting programme. You'll develop your ability to craft and refine songs in a range of styles, whilst also developing and improving your technical, musicianship and entrepreneurial skills. Speak to our friendly Admissions Team to learn more about this programme.
Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org and start your music career today.