Music Education

Amanda’s Music Education

Music, songwriting and the music business have been the themes of my life. 

 

I had the privilege of observing the process and struggle of my father, Nashville Songwriting Hall of Fame member Kim Williams as he transitioned from disabled construction worker to superstar songwriter (140 million units sold and counting)...

 

... and then I, too became enflamed by the passion to make music the mission of my life.

My music education began at an early age and continues to this day.

 

During elementary school, I began a study of classical piano at the age of 5, under the instruction of Melissa Campbell, Duke University graduate. 

 

Under her, I studied music theory, and won performance awards including state honors in beginner/intermediate level piano competitions. 

 

I began singing in church and school choirs, winning state honors in those fields as well as branching into musical theatre.

In middle school, I began studying piano at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music under Chancellor’s Professor of Piano, Roland Schneller. 

 

At this time, I progressed to college level theory also at Blair. 

 

Also in middle school, I began playing the saxophone and continued to do so into high school, and was the only girl in the jazz band at that time.

In high school, during the onset of Dad’s songwriting success, I deepened my study of music to include voice lessons with the world renowned, Renee Grant Williams, whose techniques and training methods are revolutionary in the field of vocal instrument training. 

 

Also during high school, I auditioned and was accepted to All and Mid-State Chorus all four years alternating among all four women’s vocal parts, from Alto II to Soprano I.

At 15, I attended the Berklee College of Music Five Week program in Boston, MA during which time I performed at the BPC as the lead singer of our R&B Ensemble led by Kevin Barry, Paula Cole’s band leader, a performance captured in the recruitment footage shown to prospective students by the College. 

 

As an undergraduate, I earned a 3.98 GPA in my Music Business courses and scored the highest ever grade  (100%) on the Music Business/Management final administered by instructor, Jeff Dorenfeld (former business manager for the band, Boston).

While at Berklee, I studied under Connecticut Symphony Orchestra conductor, Tibor Pusztai, Curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Dr. Henry Tate, Harvard Professor of Psychology, Dr. Ronald Goldman, vocal instructors, Ann Dolan & current Vocal Department Chair, Ann Peckham. 

 

While a student, I had the opportunity to appear with the Berklee Concert Choir in a joint performance with The Chieftains.  In 1999, I was handed my Bachelor of Music Degree with high honors from Honorary Doctorate recipient, legendary rocker, David Bowie.

After graduation, I worked as a catalogue manager for Dad’s publishing company, a sub-publisher of Tree International, later to become Sony ATV Music Publishing. 

 

I learned that my college degree hadn’t prepared me at all for the reality of the music business in Nashville, despite the excellent education I received at Berklee. 

 

“Keep your copyrights at all cost” turned into “give up what you have to in order to get into the business.”

At 23, I signed as a staff writer to Dad & Sony’s co-publishing company under the tutelage of Donna Hilley, legendary song woman and Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee. 

 

My point guy at Sony was Troy Tomlinson, now the President of Sony Nashville since Donna’s retirement

My professional songwriting career morphed in and out of artist deals as the years progressed, each successive opportunity teaching me ever more about the ups and downs of the music business.

By continually staying on top of current developments in the music business, and applying my knowledge of the history of music to today’s market, I decided to quit resting my hopes and dreams in others, and to take charge of my career, setting a course of action that is still leading to its final destination. 

 

My Enhanced Music Publishing Company, Hillbilly Culture LLC. is part of that journey, and I’m glad to be able to take the lessons I’ve learned and apply them to a curriculum of self-reliance for other songwriter/artists through Songpreneurs LLC online.

There is only one sure way to achieve ones goals, and that is by never stopping until you reach them. 

 

Together, with other artists, songwriters and progressively thinking music industry entrepreneurs we can support each other through our journeys, providing advice, insight and guidance from our unique perspectives until we have arrived at a complete picture of the landscape of the music business as it is today.

Amanda’s Music Education

Music, songwriting and the music business have been the themes of my life. 

 

I had the privilege of observing the process and struggle of my father, Nashville Songwriting Hall of Fame member Kim Williams as he transitioned from disabled construction worker to superstar songwriter (140 million units sold and counting)...

 

... and then I, too became enflamed by the passion to make music the mission of my life.

My music education began at an early age and continues to this day.

 

During elementary school, I began a study of classical piano at the age of 5, under the instruction of Melissa Campbell, Duke University graduate. 

 

Under her, I studied music theory, and won performance awards including state honors in beginner/intermediate level piano competitions. 

 

I began singing in church and school choirs, winning state honors in those fields as well as branching into musical theatre.

In middle school, I began studying piano at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music under Chancellor’s Professor of Piano, Roland Schneller. 

 

At this time, I progressed to college level theory also at Blair. 

 

Also in middle school, I began playing the saxophone and continued to do so into high school, and was the only girl in the jazz band at that time.

In high school, during the onset of Dad’s songwriting success, I deepened my study of music to include voice lessons with the world renowned, Renee Grant Williams, whose techniques and training methods are revolutionary in the field of vocal instrument training. 

 

Also during high school, I auditioned and was accepted to All and Mid-State Chorus all four years alternating among all four women’s vocal parts, from Alto II to Soprano I.

At 15, I attended the Berklee College of Music Five Week program in Boston, MA during which time I performed at the BPC as the lead singer of our R&B Ensemble led by Kevin Barry, Paula Cole’s band leader, a performance captured in the recruitment footage shown to prospective students by the College. 

 

As an undergraduate, I earned a 3.98 GPA in my Music Business courses and scored the highest ever grade  (100%) on the Music Business/Management final administered by instructor, Jeff Dorenfeld (former business manager for the band, Boston).

While at Berklee, I studied under Connecticut Symphony Orchestra conductor, Tibor Pusztai, Curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Dr. Henry Tate, Harvard Professor of Psychology, Dr. Ronald Goldman, vocal instructors, Ann Dolan & current Vocal Department Chair, Ann Peckham. 

 

While a student, I had the opportunity to appear with the Berklee Concert Choir in a joint performance with The Chieftains.  In 1999, I was handed my Bachelor of Music Degree with high honors from Honorary Doctorate recipient, legendary rocker, David Bowie.

After graduation, I worked as a catalogue manager for Dad’s publishing company, a sub-publisher of Tree International, later to become Sony ATV Music Publishing. 

 

I learned that my college degree hadn’t prepared me at all for the reality of the music business in Nashville, despite the excellent education I received at Berklee. 

 

“Keep your copyrights at all cost” turned into “give up what you have to in order to get into the business.”

At 23, I signed as a staff writer to Dad & Sony’s co-publishing company under the tutelage of Donna Hilley, legendary song woman and Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee. 

 

My point guy at Sony was Troy Tomlinson, now the President of Sony Nashville since Donna’s retirement

My professional songwriting career morphed in and out of artist deals as the years progressed, each successive opportunity teaching me ever more about the ups and downs of the music business.

By continually staying on top of current developments in the music business, and applying my knowledge of the history of music to today’s market, I decided to quit resting my hopes and dreams in others, and to take charge of my career, setting a course of action that is still leading to its final destination. 

 

My Enhanced Music Publishing Company, Hillbilly Culture LLC. is part of that journey, and I’m glad to be able to take the lessons I’ve learned and apply them to a curriculum of self-reliance for other songwriter/artists through Songpreneurs LLC online.

There is only one sure way to achieve ones goals, and that is by never stopping until you reach them. 

 

Together, with other artists, songwriters and progressively thinking music industry entrepreneurs we can support each other through our journeys, providing advice, insight and guidance from our unique perspectives until we have arrived at a complete picture of the landscape of the music business as it is today.

The one thing that is constant in the music business today is change. 

 

We can cope with that change as long as we don’t claim to know all the answers, but instead, we adapt to the conditions that are presented to us as they are presented, holding a vision of our eventual goal ever in mind. 

 

In this way, we can chart a course through these uncharted waters, and help the scores of others who seek to navigate them.

 

This is the wild west of the music business.  As creators and artists, it’s time to claim our mule and 40 acres.

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