- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The life of Boyle County High School senior Amanda Sivers is one filled with music.

“I could imagine being blind and not seeing anything, but I couldn’t imagine not being able hear music,” Sivers said.

The 18-year-old Boyle County High School senior developed much of her love of music and her style from her father.

“My dad always listened to folk singers on CD, like John Denver, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, and there was always a lot of violin in the music,” Sivers said. “I tried piano and quit when I was really young. I just, in passing, had said to my mom, ‘I bet it would be fun to learn the violin.’ She got me one for Christmas that year.”

Her parents, Ron and Wendy provided a positive push in the beginning of Sivers’s musical pursuits. It’s been eight years since she first started playing the violin and in that time she has picked up the ukulele and guitar, and she has started singing. Locally, she sings with the Danville Children’s Choir.

Sivers also teaches lessons in ukulele, guitar and voice at Little Paws Piano and Music Studio in Danville. She’s also seeking children interested in learning how to play violin. Eventually, Sivers said, she is going to attend Suzuki Violin School, so she can become certified to teach upper levels of violin as well.

She also decided to try the piano again, when she was a freshman in high school.

“I fell in love with it,” Sivers said. She currently doesn’t teach piano, but said she would be interested in doing so.

Last fall, she decided to give guitar playing a real shot.

“I had played it here and there, from where my dad plays all the time. It’s always been in in my life and I’ve always known a lot about it,” Sivers said. “I started it and I stopped it; I started it and I stopped it.”

“This time I started it and I started writing music for it, so now there’s a connection there,” she said.

While she doesn’t have a favorite instrument, she does have a special connection with the violin and piano, Sivers said, because she writes songs using those instruments.

Her hard work has paid off: Sivers will be recording her first album this summer at Tate Music Group in Oklahoma.

That connection happened through Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ, an organization of which Sivers is a member. She began attending their weekend training sessions, before going to the weeklong program in Orlando last summer. It was there that Sivers was able to connect with those from Tate.

Up until now, all Sivers’ recordings have been done on her phone, but she said she’s looking forward to the chance to finally make and release her own record.

“I don’t really care if I go anywhere. It’s just the fact that I get to have my music come to life and I get to see those words from the page go into the song,” she said.

Ultimately, Sivers said, she hopes that the music she writes is able to help break Christian stereotypes. She wants to write what she calls “indie Christian” music, something Sivers said hasn’t quite been done this way.

“There’s nothing wrong with secular music. I love folk music and stuff like that. The one thing I strive to do is create a slightly different genre of Christian music,” Sivers said. “A lot of Christian music can (sound) the same and you can get into these flatlines. I want to help put a little bit of folk style into it. A lot of kids are listening to indie these days, so I think it would fit well.”

For Sivers, being able to express herself is a big component to why she writes music. It also just makes her happy.

She loves the idea that her music can make someone else happy, but beyond that, Sivers loves that others - especially children - can be made happy just by learning how to play their own instruments.

It’s hard work, she said, but completely worth it, if someone is willing to take the chance to learn how to play.

“You never know if you’re good at something or if you like it until you try it,” Sivers said.

There is a secret to becoming a skilled musician, she said.

“I would say, ‘It’s hard work and you have to love playing everyday. As long as you love music and you have a relationship with music, then you will be fine,” Sivers said.

“You can’t compare yourself to other people. You have to start and be better than you were yesterday and you’re doing good.”

That’s her goal and “that usually works.”

___

Information from: The (Danville, Ky.) Advocate-Messenger, http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews

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