Marshfield’s Andrew Hamilton graduated from MHS in 2011 before attending the University of Central Missouri to study composition. He played the tuba in the Marshfield wind ensemble and also picked up the violin, which he played in the school’s orchestra. He also played the piano in jazz band.
“I’ve taken piano lessons since I was a kid and I’ve always loved music, but I think I began wanting to compose music about ten years ago,” he explained. “I met Jeremy Meyer as a freshman in his music theory class and I just thrived. I loved it. I would go home and start writing the stuff he was teaching and it was just an instant passion.”
After college, Hamilton planned to teach composition, get published and ultimately write music for Disney. However, it’s always been something he’s worked towards on the side. As a full-time software developer, Hamilton explained that his dreams of composing Disney scores is still very real, but something he’s working towards one step at a time.
Recently, the first step towards that dream became a reality. Hamilton had a piece published in August with one of the top publishing companies in the business, Barnhouse.
“I want to be a film or video game composer but as everyone knows, music is hard to make money off of immediately so you always have to have a fallback plan,” he explained. “Being published has been a milestone in accomplishing my overall goals. I just had to think about what those steps looked like in achieving what I wanted to musically and stick with it. I think that’s what got me here.”
Hamilton added that he has continued writing music regardless of his ‘success’ because it’s something that is fun for him and brings him joy. Prior to his piece, “Mercy” being published with Barnhouse, they rejected him a number of times.
“Every time they rejected me they gave positive feedback. They publish music for high school musicians and basically what they were telling me was ‘hey, you’ve got chops. We know you can write but this stuff is too hard… it’s not our market.,’” he said. “So I would write something different and submit again. Try again. I was ecstatic when I got the news they accepted “Mercy.” Just thrilled.”
According to Barnhouse’s website, “Mercy” is a heartwarming debut work for band featuring a tender, lyrical melody that will captivate audiences and inspire performers. It offers a unique opportunity for young musicians to delve into the intricacies of phrasing and dynamics, while engaging with a touching piece that will leave a lasting impression.
“When I was a senior at Marshfield, I was going to be a composer and no one was going to tell me different. But they did. They said, ‘hey, you need a fall back plan. You need something safe.’ Those people were right,” he added. “Pursuing music as a hobby is one of the most rewarding things that you can do but my advice to young musicians would be to be smart about it. Learn a skill, a trade; coding, welding, something that can pay the bills while you chase your dreams. And don’t give up.”
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