SHERIDAN — Sprouting out of her passion for music and educating young musicians, Amanda Patterson finally — with the help of her son, Oliver — snipped the red ribbon on her dream of becoming a music studio owner.
Patterson, with a wealth of experience in music throughout her life, held a ribbon cutting and open house Dec. 20 in her new music studio, Aspen Grove, located at 21 N. Main St. on the second floor of the building.
Patterson grew up in a town in South Dakota with a population of around 500 people. Falling in line with the trend of many small schools, her school cut the music program while Patterson was still quite young. Her only exposure to music was camps during the summer. She would come home inspired by the other passionate musicians she spent time with at the camps, but her experiences quickly faded with the lack of consistency.
Patterson entered college as a political science major because she was not aware of the ability to major in music. After performing in a talent show on campus at Black Hills State University, the choir director approached her and encouraged her to join the choir. That interaction opened the door for Patterson, and she eventually made the call to her parents, letting them know that she was changing her major from political science to music.
Patterson earned her degree and started in on graduate school at the University of Colorado-Boulder, but she found herself engrossed in volunteer and job opportunities working with children’s theater and chose to pursue full time music work instead.
“Where I really got my experience, I think, was working with kids; there are just super talented kids in Boulder,” Patterson said. “That’s kind of what I’m bringing to here.”
Patterson said a particular studio she worked with in Boulder sparked ideas for her dream studio.
“I came on with her and did the office managing, that sort of thing, and had 30 students before I left,” Patterson said. “It was a lot, but it was really fun; it was sad to leave.”
From that experience, she felt confident to eventually open her own studio for music lessons. She held off teaching anyone other than close family friends until now so she could fully invest in it as a business and carry out her dream of having a studio and integrating performance at an early age.
“I think it’s really important when teaching kids to provide performance and collaboration experiences right away,” Patterson said. “A lot of times you learn an instrument and you maybe get that one recital a year experience, you don’t get to perform (that often). I think that’s one of the whole purposes of music; it’s a form of expression and communication, and so it’s important for me to link that up right away.
“It doesn’t matter how basic your skills are, we’re going to communicate, we’re going to express something with little kids what that expression is, but I want that to be there from the start, not something that what they feel like comes in later when you’re good enough. I feel like that raises better musicians, better artists, more confident performers if you do that right off the bat.”
In addition to running her studio, Patterson still raises her 2- and 4-year-old children and helps her husband, Nicholas Patterson, run their tree services business, Inner Tree.
Last fall, Patterson also worked with Sheridan High School drama director Emma Hall in the last week before performance time for their fall production.
“It was so nice to have her there,” Hall said. “She brought a really positive attitude and was very supportive of the kids all the time.”
Patterson will help produce the collaborative upcoming musical “9 to 5” with the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center and Sheridan Civic Theater Guild.
“I’m looking forward to working with her there,” Hall said.