Clifford Stumme offers a unique kind of “pop quiz.”
By day, Clifford Stumme is a professor at Liberty University, but after hours, he dedicates his time to working on his YouTube channel.
There, he teaches viewers how to write songs and occasionally critiques lyrics, all in good fun.
“I direct the interdisciplinary program and I teach our capstone course as well as a couple of our other classes, online and residentially,” Stumme said.
Stumme manages the program and spends a lot of time talking to students one-on-one about what interdisciplinary studies looks like.
“I’m also working on my Ph.D. in higher education administration through Liberty,” Stumme said.
Stumme lives locally in Lynchburg with his wife and two dogs, Strudel and Galaxy.
“Strudel is the dumb and friendly one and Galaxy is the smart one that will protect us if somebody comes and tries to attack,” Stumme said.
He decided he wanted to teach as a career after getting a Graduate Student Assistant position teaching English.
“In high school I wanted to be either a politician or a pastor, so I did internships for both, and that was good because I decided I didn’t like either one,” Stumme said. “I decided to go to grad school for English and I loved it a lot, so I stuck around.”
Stumme chose to study English because he enjoys the analysis of literature and the opportunity to reach people through deeper conversations. He uses the stories and the poems that he uses as course material to reach those around him.
His students hold him in high regard.
“He is a very compassionate, grace-giving professor that wants you to succeed,” Lukas Davoll, one of Stumme’s students, said. “He is very willing to go far to help you with whatever you need.”
When he is not teaching at Liberty, Stumme spends his time teaching on his YouTube channel. The channel currently has gained a following of over 118,000 subscribers since he began it two years ago.
“I grew up watching YouTubers and thinking how cool it would be to build a community around a topic that we all enjoy,” Stumme said. “I gave it a shot and put out a couple of videos. They did well so I kept putting out more.”
The motto of his channel is, “We make English class awesome by explaining and sometimes roasting song lyrics on weekdays.”
“The whole idea there is to let people know what to expect right from the get-go,” Stumme said. “We basically explain song lyrics and every once in a while, we will make fun of really bad ones… I’m thinking of changing the motto because we are starting to focus more and more on songwriting.”
Stumme uses his channel for two main reasons – to help people find community with others who also look for help with song lyrics and to help them to get better at writing.
“Not only so they can get better at expressing themselves, which I think is really important, but to feel confident in how they express themselves and feel like they are able to put their thoughts and feelings forward in a powerful way,” Stumme said.
Stumme is currently putting together a month-long intensive for songwriters in his audience, where he will be teaching how to improve song lyrics.