With our vivacious youth and adult choirs, thriving youth orchestra and private lessons out the wazoo, you may think that Encore Music Academy has it all. And we do! We are very fortunate to have such dedicated staff and families in our organization. However, there is one specific demographic of musicians that we have been missing out on: the singer/songwriters.
Enter Allie Hulen! A graduate from Western Illinois University, pianist/vocalist/guitarist, and local talent, she has provided live music on behalf of EMA for years. And now, Allie has officially joined the EMA family as our resident singer/songwriter private teacher! We couldn’t be happier, and she couldn’t be more excited to create a welcoming studio for anyone who wants to write and perform their own music.
Fun Facts About Allie
Hobbies: I love to garden, cook, bake, eat, and write songs.
If you weren’t a musician, what job would you love to have? I would do something with plants or with food… maybe an environmental botanist, a farmer, or a baker.
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled, or where would you like to travel to? I want to travel to any place with incredible food and with people who share their own stories!
Interview with Allie
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
A: “What I enjoy most about teaching is the relationship I get to build with a student while we learn about one of the things I love the most.”
What does a typical first lesson with you look like?
A: “In a first lesson, it is most important that the student feels comfortable. We will get to know one another, talk about what their goals are, and then start to see where they are at in their musical development. My hope by the end of the first lesson is that the student is excited to learn with me, motivated to learn their instrument, and that they will have something to work on for our next lesson.”
How do you go about selecting music for your students? Do they pick out their own music?
A: “When selecting music, student input is extremely important; but multiple other factors are important as well. I try my best to select music for my students that is of a high quality, will expose my students to various musical styles, will prepare and support them in other musical experiences, will allow them to be successful, will appropriately challenge them in their musical growth, and will motivate them!”
What made you decide to go into music?
A: “I love music! I love experimenting with sounds, I love exploring new instruments, I love what music can teach you about yourself, and I love most the relationships I have made because of music.”
Who is one of your favorite musicians/composers/artists? Why?
A: “I really admire Willie Nelson. In his music he brings together some of the best parts of multiple music genres. His guitar playing is heavily influenced by the jazz guitar of Django Reinhardt and his songwriting by the storytelling heard in old country/folk music. I also love the songwriting of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, the Indigo Girls, and The Weepies.”
What sparked your interest in your instrument?
A: “For piano, it was because I loved the timbre! For guitar, it started with me wanting to be able to accompany myself while singing and songwriting.”
What advice would you give to someone considering music as a career?
A: “First, know that any career in music is going to take practice. Additionally, know that – as musicians – we are constantly learning and growing and exploring ways to improve our art form. This takes time, patience, and perseverance – often with yourself.”