Songwriter faces challenges, finds enjoyment while teaching courses

Walt Aldridge teaches a class in the Department of Entertainment Industry.

Walt Aldridge has written dozens of hit songs, produced records for popular artists and has a bronze star on the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He is also in his second semester of teaching classes in the Department of Entertainment Industry at UNA.

With all the success Aldridge has accomplished in his career of publishing, recording and songwriting, he feels graduating from UNA is how it all began.

“I’ve always had a personal attachment (to UNA) because I feel it has personally been how I got my jobs doing something I love,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge’s journey to UNA began last summer when Dr. Bob Garfrerick, chair the Department of Entertainment Industry, contacted him and offered him a one-year contract to teach. Aldridge felt like it was a perfect time in his life to take on teaching at a university.

“I’ve always taught,” he said. “Even at school here I had 40 guitar students. I’ll always be teaching something, somewhere.”

Aldridge has also started working on his MBA in business from UNA.

“I feel challenged because I don’t have any of those teaching certifications, but I do know how the business is and this is what students want,” he said.

He said he can offer the valuable truths students need to consider about the industry. He also said he has additional insight as a teacher because he is working on his master’s degree.

Aldridge explains that one of the best parts of teaching is the possibility of influencing students’ lives and careers.

“It’s the pride in feeling like you had some minute part in their journey,” he said. “You never know if you’re one of those teachers that have made that positive, dramatic effect in someone’s life.”

To enhance students’ learning experiences, Aldridge has been known to invite guests he has met in the industry to class. He said the best part of his department is the small class size, which allows him to give attention to all of his students.

Even though he is teaching and continuing his education, he hasn’t slowed Aldridge down.

“I feel like I have my plate pretty full,” he said. “I still write songs; I still produce records. I don’t have any down time.”

He is currently mentoring two songwriting groups that are part of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Aldridge said teaching at UNA is an enjoyable experience and he hopes to continue teaching in the future.