Carolina native hired as School of Music, Theatre and Dance director


Courtesy of JLBoone Photography

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance welcomes musician Amy Tully as its new director.

North Carolina native Amy Tully has become the new director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD), bringing her years as a professional flutist to the students of Oakland University.

“What attracted me to this position is being able to work with three really fine performing arts departments,” Tully said. “Even though I see myself as a flutist, I identify so easily with other performing artists because I understand the grit, I understand the time, I understand the sweat and tears and I understand the toll it takes on the body.”

Tully lived in South Carolina for 20 years and worked as an orchestral flutist, chamber musician and a solo artist. She was also a professor, teaching music history and flute classes, before becoming the associate dean at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

Her favorite experiences have been whenever she played Beethoven or played a new piece of music, especially when a composer wrote it specifically for her. 

One of the highlights of her collegiate understanding of music was going to a performance of “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart. She said, between the scenery, costumes, dancing, acting and singing, she saw the blending of so many different kinds of artistic creativity.

As the new director of the SMTD, Tully hopes to show the community how hard the students work, bringing forth more opportunities for scholarships. She also wants to look at the curriculum and degrees of the different programs and find ways to improve upon what has already been put in place.

One of her main goals, though, is to prepare students for a life in the performing arts.

“I want to nurture our students, and what I mean by that is preparing them for a life in the performing arts,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not going to be easy. If we don’t nurture the next generation, then what are we doing?” 

Tully said one major thing she sees at Oakland is how educating students is the main priority for the professors. She wants students to know the same applies for her.

She hopes students see they are welcome to come talk to her because she understands what it is like to be in their position. 

“I’ve been in those foundations classes that either were kicking your butt, or you were bored and you just have to get through it,” she said. “I have been there in those late night rehearsals, those late night performances. I’ve been in the practice mode where you are just too tired to keep going.” 

Her years of experience will not only help with connecting with students, though. Tully said her history as a performing artist will also help her with her new position as director.

She believes that you can’t be a freelance musician or solo artist without first being organized, paying attention and understanding non-artistic things such as contracts.

In her 10-15 years playing in orchestras and organizing chamber music, she said another requisite was to be able to balance her schedule. Between practicing, preparing to teach during the week and maintaining a social life, being able to balance a schedule is vital and an attribute she carries with her to OU.

Overall, Tully said Oakland is very welcoming and feels that people really want others to succeed, an attribute which isn’t always present in a university setting. 

While every school at OU has its challenges, she believes this is the most student-centered place she’s ever worked, a trait she feels is incredibly important.

“If this is your passion, don’t give up,” she said. “There’s times it’s hard and it’s very physically and emotionally draining, but in the end it’s worth it.”