As students were sent home after spring break and the music industry began to relatively shut down, Curb College’s Jenny Lokey, student enrichment coordinator, and Caroline Rupard, career development specialist, worked together to think outside the box for Belmont students.
Internships are an integral part of a career in the music business and it looked like they were not going to happen over the summer. To pivot, Lokey and Rupard created the Virtual Curb College Mentorship Program for students and May 2020 graduates as a way for them to continue their professional development when so many opportunities were put on hold. In total, 110 students and May graduates, as well as 23 industry professionals from across the country participated.
Students were greatly impacted by these mentorship groups, learning about the industry and some even landing real-life internships for the fall and jobs through connections with professionals made in the program.
One unique group took their mentorship to the next level once they decided to continue meeting after the initial program had ended. A May 2020 graduate who is living and working in Los Angeles, California, had the idea to organize a virtual songwriting camp as their final project for the mentorship group. Mentor Rachel Wein from Prescription Songs agreed to guide them through the process as an extension of their mentorship.
The group of five secured 25 songwriters and producers, most of which were current or former Belmont students, and acted as matchmakers to determine co-writing sessions with writers that would be compatible in personality and music style. They scheduled 20 different co-writing rooms over the four days of the camp, and after the camp finished, the writers had two weeks to record and produce demos of their songs.
“We compiled all their demos and lyrics into a playlist on SongSpace, so they could hear each other’s work,” May 2020 songwriting graduate Martin Chiesl reflected. “After listening to all the demos, Rachel said she was surprised by the overall quality of the songs from the camp–everyone did a really good job. She even sent some of the songs around to a few of her industry contacts. Organizing the camp was a challenge for our group, but we learned a lot in the process! It was fulfilling to hear that the writers had a really positive experience.”