In April, Stephanie Phillips received a letter in the mail that began with the phrase: “We are pleased to inform you … .” These six words changed Phillips’ plan for the summer and potentially her life.
The acceptance letter was for Berklee College of Music’s Summer Session: Women’s Performance Program. Phillips was being offered a full scholarship and the opportunity to spend the summer living in Boston and studying drumming under Terri Lynne Carrington, a Grammy-award winning drummer, composer and bandleader.
Ironically, Phillips, a senior in Pamplin College’s Department of Music, didn’t originally plan to major in music.
– Stephanie Phillips
“During my senior year of high school, I made the decision to study music,” she said. “Before then, I wanted to study forensics and become a detective. I am glad I chose music, though, because it is something that I love and something that keeps me focused.”
After making the decision to study music, Phillips never looked back.
She studied her instrument, practiced daily and took advantage of experiential learning opportunities provided by the Department of Music.
Before spending the summer in Boston, Phillips traveled to China and Colorado with the music department.
“Those trips allowed me to see different walks of life that include music and also education,” Phillips said. “They also allowed me to be courageous enough to pursue my own dreams to apply for Berklee’s summer program.”
Phillips credits her growth as a musician to her professors.
“They’re great leaders, and I can say for certain that I’ve grown since I first started at Augusta University,” she said.
Phillips is excited to return to Augusta University and the Department of Music for the fall semester and the start of her final year of college. She is eager to share with her fellow students all that she learned during her time at Berklee, and also hopes to encourage other students to go after their dreams.
“Don’t settle for anything less than what you want, and don’t let others discourage you from making those decisions,” she said.
– Stephanie Phillips
As the new school year beings, Phillips will begin to shift her focus to life after college. Her dreams include playing Coachella, the Grammy’s or the Montreal Jazz Festival. She is also considering becoming a jazz professor in hopes of helping young musicians.
At the 2018 Fall Kick Off, President Brooks Keel announced that a complete renovation of the Fine Arts Center was scheduled to begin in February, providing state-of-the-art performance, recital and practice areas for music students.
Learn more about the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Augusta University and options for students interested in pursing a career in music.