Adjunct Artist Teacher of Music, Keyboard
We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Blair School alumna Sarah Williams, B.Mus. ’06, and learning about her post-Vanderbilt music career.
As a piano teacher, performing pianist and singer-songwriter, Williams’ days are a balancing act between creativity, efficient practice and time management. We asked her how she does it all and how Blair helped prepare her for it — and, of course, any advice she might offer to aspiring music majors!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend the morning practicing and/or songwriting — either cowriting or writing by myself. In the afternoon, I teach lessons at my piano studio. The nighttime is free for rehearsals, going to see performances, or cooking.
How did your undergraduate studies at Blair shape your career as a piano teacher and performer?
Self-discipline. As a Blair student, you have a lot on your plate and have to manage your time really well, sometimes more than other undergraduate students. As a professional musician, you have to balance a lot of things, too, so the experience as a Blair student trained me really well. Preparation and professionalism are required at school and required in your career.
What sets Blair apart from other programs?
The teachers and the environment they create. Faculty were always encouraging and willing to take extra time with me. They were interested in me as a person, as well as a musician. In my experience, there’s nothing the Blair faculty wouldn’t do to help students learn and grow.
What advice do you have for students interested in being music majors and going on to pursue careers in music?
What’s worked well for me is to know your instrument really well, and to also be aware of other styles. As a student, round out your education. Find new teachers and take different classes. Reach out into Nashville, Blair and the university and take advantage of all the education and resources that are offered.
If you could apply to college again, would you still choose Blair?
Yes! Blair prepared me so well for everything I wanted to do. Being in Nashville also helped me spread some roots in the music industry and a living community in which I was going to stay.
Speaking of Nashville, we are lucky that Blair is located in such a fantastic musical location. Just for fun, could you tell us your favorite Nashville venue to see live music?
When I was a student, my favorite place to see live music was the Station Inn — and it still is!