Hinsdale Central student gets taste of music industry

Amanda Wilson, 17, marches to the beat of her own drum.

Wilson, a junior at Hinsdale Central High School, has been in the school orchestra the past three years, playing the quads (a set of four drums) in the Red Devil Marching Band. This year she also was accepted as a drummer for the wind and jazz ensembles.

“I feel like I can express myself that way,” said Wilson, who lives in Hinsdale.

“We have a fantastic music program at school,” Wilson said. “There are so many different opportunities.”

She carves out time to co-host a weekly radio show on Hinsdale Central’s radio station 88.5 WHSD.

Wilson and her friends Izzy Mayer and Kiran Khatau play alternative music, and chat about whatever is on their minds between songs during their two-hour show on Friday afternoons, called, “Play. Pause. Repeat.”

But still she wanted more. To explore her favorite kind of music Wilson has been taking lessons at School of Rock in downtown Hinsdale. She plays electric bass guitar or drums in the school’s performance group and house band.

The house band plays gigs at area schools, promoting the programs the music school offers, and at the Community House.

The performance group focuses on one musical theme for 12 weeks and then does a show in a Chicago venue. On March 8, they joined with musicians from the Schools of Rock in Elmhurst and Naperville, and performed a show at the Double Door in Chicago.

The musicians not only get experience performing in a real club, they get to experience the nitty-gritty of being a touring musician.

“We have to pack up all the instruments and equipment, set it up at the show and then take it down and bring it back to the school where we set it back up again,” Wilson said. “It’s good experience for what a touring musician has to deal with.”

That is what Wilson wanted to be, but she is also practical and accomplished in areas besides music.

“I’m in all honors classes. I am kind of an over-achiever. So I thought why not learn skills other than performing.”

She is considering taking classes in recording arts and music production in college.

“The music industry is so difficult to get into,” Wilson said. “If I am able to record and produce music, that makes me more valuable to the music industry.”

Wilson said she has learned a lot about responsibility from her musical endeavors.

When the band chooses a song, “I have to learn it and know it well,” before rehearsing as a group.

“Music also has taught me to be patient and work with others,” she said.

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