In 2010, I made the life altering decision to leave the traditional music publishing world of Music Row Nashville, and retreat to the woods to homeschool my twin kids.
They were entering the 2nd grade, and I had just started my own music publishing company called Hillbilly Culture to handle my new original songs, and my co-publishing share of the Sony / ATV Catalog written as a first-time signed staff writer under Donna Hilley.
It was a scary time, and taught me a lot about discipline, perseverance and risking it all.
Our first week as homeschoolers was spent on a trip to Park City, Utah where my dad, Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame Member Kim Williams (Three Wooden Crosses Randy Travis, Ain't Goin' Down Til The Sun Comes Up Garth Brooks) was playing a songwriter series with his hit songwriting buddies at a gated community there.
He and my mom took the kids and me along for the trip, and we made great use of the adventure to kick off our homeschooling journey on a fun, exciting note.
The first place we started was the library, and the one in Park City is delightful with its very own guinea pigs and bean bag strewn reading nook.
We picked up nighttime stories for the week to complement the academically appropriate grade level activity books I had brought for us to work on, and our flash cards for math and memorization fact drills.
Over the years, we tried a few different approaches including a brief experiment with unschooling, and decided that a regimented, disciplined approach was best for us because, we thrived better knowing what we had to get done, and getting it done efficiently instead of vaguely letting chance lead us toward our educational goals.
Through research, I found The Well Trained Mind book, and started using the Classical Homeschooling Method adapted to our own needs.
I am proud to say that whatever we did worked, because after homeschooling from 2nd to 8th grade, the kids entered Metro Nashville Public Schools for high school, and graduated top 10 of their class with many additional community and regional accolades.
Now they are both enrolled as full-time college students and started with enough AP credits to skip nearly a grade ahead in their chosen programs.
The greatest challenge for me as a mom and an educator in training was to prepare lesson plans for the kids' enrichment based on suggestions from the Well Trained Mind timelines.
As a professional writer, it was a lot of fun to use my creativity toward creating lesson plans, and eventually I used that movable skill to develop a proprietary curriculum for my Songpreneurs online training resource for songwriters and other creative entrepreneurs.
The goal of the course is to use principle based methods to build a sustainable structure for your creative business to flourish.
The great thing is that when you work on your life skills and toward a mastery skill set, you naturally improve every area of your life, not just your songwriting.
The Q1 course does not have any pre-requisites, so anyone can participate, even if you're not really a songwriter.
Later in the year our focus turns toward more specific skills building for songwriters, including how to build your music publishing house, the art of pitching songs, and business modeling for creative businesses.
The Q3 and Q4 courses require that you take Q2 as a pre-requisite so that we can go in depth into the information and don't have to wait on people who aren't up to speed on the fundamentals.
Even though it's not required, Q1 Life Balancing & Time Management is really the most
fundamental training any of us can work on to build our sustainable careers in this digital age of constant communication and, yes, let's face it, distraction.
Work with me and the Songpreneurs group to improve your workflow and prepare the way for success in 2020 and beyond.
Sign up for the courses here.
Amanda Colleen Williams is an awarded songwriter and music publisher with songs on albums certified at 17 million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America®, including "She's Tired of Boys" written with Garth Brooks & is a US Department of State Exchange Program Arts Envoy IPR pilot.