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Blair Hit Songwriter Series

Hit Songwriter Series Podcast


Blair Hit Songwriter Series at Vanderbilt University is one of the longest-running songwriting classes in Nashville, having hosted hundreds of songwriting and music business legends, as well as cutting-edge up-and-comers. Massive hitmakers such as Natalie Hemby, Jon Nite, Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelley (aka Louis York), critically acclaimed artist/writers including Mary Gauthier and Don Henry, and scores of music industry insiders have spoken at this weekly class since spring of 1999. 

Sit in the classroom with us as we engage in in-depth conversations about writing, creativity, business, artistry, and all things music-related. Because of the relaxed nature of our discussions, there is occasional profanity. You’ll notice that we’ve cut out most song performances (for copyright purposes), but other than that, you’re practically there!

The class is hosted by Deanna Walker, Vanderbilt artist teacher and songwriter, who has interviewed many of the world’s greatest songwriters, including Randy Newman and Mark Knopfler, along with all the talented creators and biz geniuses who have been part of this classes since the beginning of the Blair Hit Songwriter Series.  

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Adult music ed

Deanna Walker and songwriters Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony, who perform as Louis York

7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning January 7
Tuition: $280 in person, $120 via Google Hangout

This class is available online via Google Hangout throughout most of the world. Not available in Arkansas, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. Critique is not available for online students at this time.    

Learning songwriting and music business from industry legends, new and up and coming is the best way to learn this craft. Join instructor Deanna Walker and guests such as June James, Allison Moorer, Michael Pollack, Jimmy Robbins, Street Symphony, Thomas Daniel, Femke Weidema, Ernest Chapman, Mark Montgomery, Reid Shippen, Craig King and others for incredible, up-close and personal conversations about all aspects of songwriting, artistry, and the music business.

Having your songs critiqued by hit songwriters and publishers such as Cliff Audretch III, Rick Beresford, Sarah Feldman, Eric Hurt, Don Henry and Ciara Shortridge is invaluable.


Deanna Walker spearheaded the Blair Hit Songwriter Series right around the time I moved to Nashville. As a musician and writer, this class was the perfect avenue to learning about writing songs, about Music Row, about who's who and what's what in Music City for those of us who have a bent for putting our emotions down with melody and lyrics. It's a magical place, Nashville, as is Deanna's class. Vanderbilt made a great decision to support this unique opportunity, and I benefited more than I can express here, with learning the craft, the business, the rules and how to break them, and making lasting friendships, not to mention the best cowriters! It's so great, I took the class several times!

Deanna brings in an endless and varied array of the world's greatest songwriters to teach, up close and on a very personal level. Nowhere else will you get to meet this breed of genius. Deanna is an inspiration — full of encouragement, and so very talented herself. She's the perfect teacher for this class. No matter what age or level of experience you are, if you love to write songs, this class is a rare chance to learn from world-class, chart-topping talent. You will come out of each class, head spinning from the "secrets" of success, and if you're like me, you'll go straight home, or to a bar, or coffee shop or heck, right to your car, and immediately start writing! I don't think there's anything like this anywhere else on earth. This class is enchanting, all wrapped up in Deanna's humongous heart of a smile. It's all good, folks. Tap this ... now! 

— Jackie DiPillo