10 students to gain experiential education on ‘Happy Together Tour’
This June, 10 Belmont University juniors and seniors will join professor and legendary musician Mark Volman, a founding member of the band The Turtles, on the road for an East Coast run of the “Happy Together Tour.” The tour’s “classroom” and schedule looks something like this: one tour bus, a precious few hotel rooms, long hours and many stages—for two and a half weeks and a grade.
Under the guidance of faculty advisor Mark Volman and staff advisor Lucas Boto, students will work with touring artists and crew professionals in the areas of tour management, stage management, audio engineering, tour accounting and merchandise sales. These duties will be in addition to their continued learning each day during the process of load-in, setup, tear-down and load-out. These hands-on educational avenues outside of the classroom provide networking opportunities with all of the supporting organizations while gaining an understanding of the revenue flow from music consumer to touring performer. Click here to read the students’ blog of the tour.
“Only at Belmont do students get such a unique opportunity to experience the world of tour management, live production, and what life on the road looks like before embarking on their career paths. I’m excited to teach them what I know outside a normal classroom space and to see what I’ll learn from them. Inevitably, their energy will add to the tour experience for the performers as well,” says Turtles founding member and Curb College professor of Entertainment Industry Studies Mark Volman.
Students plan, produce, star in concert for 2,000+ guests
On Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB) will present its annual Best of the Best Showcase. The show will honor the college’s benefactor and namesake Mike Curb, 2012 recipient of the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence, an annual award given to an individual who has achieved a level of excellence in the music business and entertainment industries with notable service to Belmont University and the Nashville community.
During a distinguished career spanning almost five decades, Mike Curb has earned multi-faceted success as a songwriter, producer and record company owner, covering a wide range of musical styles. As an individual, he has written more than 400 songs and received countless music industry awards, including the prestigious Overall Producer of the Year Award from Billboard magazine in 1972. Curb Records, which Mike Curb founded and where he currently serves as chairman, has produced more than 300 No. 1 records and been honored by Billboard magazine as 2001 Country Music Label of the Year and Radio & Records magazine as 2005 Overall Gold Label of the Year. Curb also serves as chairman of gospel music powerhouse Word Entertainment, which was Billboard magazine’s Overall Top Imprint in that genre for 2006. In 2006, he received the lifetime achievement award at the annual Los Angeles Music Awards. In 2007, Curb was honored as Nashvillian of the Year and has received his stars on Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame and on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Supporters establish Melinda Doolittle Endowed Scholarship
Belmont alumna Melinda Doolittle, a commercial voice major who graduated in 1999, returned to campus Wednesday to be interviewed by Director of Development and Major Gifts Harry Chapman as part of the ongoing series, “The Insider’s View.” Following her Belmont years, Doolittle launched her professional career as a backup singer and then experienced an incredibly successful run on the sixth season of TV juggernaut “American Idol,” where she ultimately placed in the top three.
“I loved singing background and being the support system for artists,” Doolittle said of her time working with a long list of talent that included BeBe and CeCe Winans, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Alabama and Jonny Lang. “I got to sing with so many different artists, and it really stretched me.”
Those opportunities and her Belmont education helped prepare her for her stint on “American Idol” where she developed as an artist in her own right. “I was finding my own voice on stage every single week… ‘American Idol’ is like boot camp for singers, and it teaches you how to accept criticism. You have to get tough skin to work in this business. ‘American Idol’ put that fire in me that I didn’t know that I had, fire to be the front person, fire to be an artist.”
Since her time on ‘Idol,’ Doolittle has released her debut CD, Coming Back to You (2009), to rave reviews as well as her first book, Beyond Me (2010), in addition to performing at events everywhere from the White House to the Musicians Hall of Fame to the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall. Her love of music and performing is eclipsed only by her love of giving back, as she dedicates much of her time to working with numerous charities, including the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and Malaria No More.
In addition, Doolittle just announced that her supporters, Melinda’s Backups, have been raising money for several years to establish a scholarship fund at her alma mater to continue the singer’s legacy of giving back. Commercial music majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts will be eligible for the Melinda Doolittle Endowed Scholarship.
Doolittle noted, “My main goal is to make sure my career is a marathon and not a sprint. I want to foster longevity and build my career to have a platform to make a difference.”
The singer concluded her session in the Massey Performing Arts Center with a few words of wisdom for the students in attendance: “You never know when the door to opportunity is going to open for you. The catch is whether or not you’re prepared for it when it does… My motto is dream big, pray hard and be prepared, and I challenge everyone to do that.”
Belmont University alumnus and multi Grammy, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music award-winning artist Brad Paisley recently established an endowed scholarship at his alma mater. The Brad Paisley Endowed Scholarship will provide financial assistance for a deserving student with demonstrated need who is studying in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.
Paisley said, “I’ve often said that the best course of education for a young person wanting to pursue country music is to go to college at Belmont. I speak from experience. I wouldn’t be in any position to offer a scholarship if I had not gone to Belmont – this is the least I can do in appreciation.”
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher added, “I’ve heard Brad say that he ‘got his big break’ when he set foot on the campus of Belmont University, a place where he met fellow students who became members of what became ‘Team Paisley.’ Well, we’ve come full circle to realize that Belmont University and future students got our big break when Brad arrived on campus. We’re deeply grateful for his continued friendship and his commitment to making Belmont better than it was when he first found us.”
In 2003, Paisley received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Belmont. A 1995 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Paisley majored in music business at what was then the Mike Curb School of Music Business. During his Belmont career, Paisley himself benefitted from a scholarship supported by Vince Gill and has long been committed to “paying it forward” to another deserving student.
About Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley is the reigning Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year, his fifth consecutive, with a total of 14 Academy of Country Music Awards and 14 Country Music Association Awards including Entertainer of the Year for 2010. He has placed 20 singles at the top of the charts and his current album, This Is Country Music, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. He released his first book, Diary of a Player, on Nov. 1, 2011 and was on the New York Times Best Seller list for two weeks. His “Virtual Reality World Tour 2012” just completed its first leg and played to over 218,000 fans with 19 sell-outs. The tour continues on May 18 in St. Louis and continues through mid-October.
About the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business
The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business strives to combine academic experience with real world applications and seeks to achieve its mission by implementing innovative courses of study in the entertainment and music industries. Featured in Time, Rolling Stone, Billboard and Business Week, CEMB offers three degrees and four majors—a BBA in Music Business and a BA or BS in Audio Engineering Technology, Entertainment Industry Studies and Songwriting—and provides invaluable experiential learning opportunities like the Belmont East (New York City) and Belmont West (Los Angeles) programs, through which students expand their cultural experiences and career opportunities as they reside, learn, work and network. Coupled with entertainment internship opportunities available on and around Music Row, these programs augment students’ chances for entrepreneurial endeavors and career advancement.
15 upperclassmen set to travel to Austin March 13-18 for innovative experiential learning opportunity
Next week 15 Belmont University students will make their way to Austin, Texas for SXSW (also known as “South by Southwest”), the world’s leading music industry event. But this isn’t merely a unique Spring Break excursion. Rather, the students will be part of an experiential learning course offered by Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.
“As an innovative college in the field of music business, Belmont University views SXSW as an opportunity for our students to use this preeminent industry conference as a giant classroom,” said Dan Keen, faculty advisor and instructor for the course. “Our goal is to equip our students attending the event with the tools, strategy and mindset to come away from the experience with ideas, concepts and inspiration that they can immediately apply to the realization of their career goals and dreams. Oh, and we hope they immerse themselves in some amazing new music as well!”
The one-credit hour course occurs during the SXSW music conference March 13-18. Students are required to complete a number of course objectives including identifying and networking with leading executives, acquiring knowledge of industry trends and new markets and discovering emerging artists. These objectives will be assessed via a presentation to faculty and reflection paper at the conclusion of the conference in addition to attendance and demonstrated knowledge of panels and showcases during the week-long experience.