By Natalie Butz

It all started with a $5 guitar her mom bought at a rummage sale. She meant it for herself, but never touched it. So whenever her mom left the house, sophomore Emily Hall would pick up the unused guitar and start to play. She had never had a lesson, but soon, she was writing her own songs.

“Nothing I’m proud of now. It was an emotional release more than anything else. Nothing I want on YouTube!” said Hall. “I’ve definitely grown since then.”

In the last six years, Hall has recorded 130 songs by her own estimation. Recording a song is simple: she just presses “record” on her iPod, then uploads it to her iTunes file. In the beginning, Hall just wrote music for herself. Then when she was 16, Hall went abroad to Germany. While overseas, she joined a band named Enanos.

“Before going to Germany, I viewed song writing as more of a conversation with myself than something I wanted to share with people. Something about being able to musically connect with people from a different culture changed my entire view of the process though,” she said.

Germany also provided a lot of inspiration for Hall. Many of her songs were written while she was overseas, including “How Much is Destiny?” which can be accessed on the Elm’s website.

“This song is really personal to me, and when I wrote it, I wondered if I even wanted to share it with anyone because it felt so exposing,” said Hall. “The song is about a guy I met in Germany, and how we had to let our feelings go for each other even though we didn’t want to. So, before I left, I wrote the song for him as a “thank you” for everything he taught me about living in the moment and not being afraid of loving someone even if you don’t ultimately end up being together.”

Since coming to Washington College, Hall has performed at almost a dozen Open Mike Nights, she is a member of WACappella, and awarded second place in the WAC Idol competition.

“I haven’t really been writing songs as much as I would like. Over the past two years, I’ve let song writing take a bit of a backseat while I’ve thought about what I want to do with my life,” she said.

Hall is currently training to be an elementary school teacher, but is hoping to find some way to blend her love of music and education.

“In the future, I hope to integrate song writing into my career as a teacher, and use it as a tool for sharing knowledge and bringing people together,” said Hall. “Both teaching and song writing are all about sharing knowledge, wisdom, and experience, and even though I’m not pursuing a career in music, I’m still a musician even if it’s not my occupation. It’s taken me a really long time to come to peace with that.”
She hopes the answer will lie somewhere in her journey to Tanzania this summer.

“I’ll be traveling to Tanzania with the education department. There, I will conduct an independent research project sponsored by the Cater Society that contains a reflective song writing component. I will also be doing an ethnographic study of school curriculum as a transmitter of culture,” said Hall.

In the meantime, Hall continues to write and perform her own original songs. She created her own YouTube page a little over a year ago, which she actively maintains. She also recorded a studio album last April called “Change is Just Creation.”

“I got tired writing songs that I never really played for anyone,” said Hall.

Hall hopes to continue to develop as a musician.

“I’ve learned that even if I let song writing take the backseat, it is still always going to be a part of my life. No matter how distracted I get by the world, I keep coming back to song writing. It’s inescapable,” she said.

The Elm

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