Music student goes above and beyond

Cello There Phillip Watson poses for the Washburn Review with his cello. Watson also goes by the name "Brail."

ShelAtadgi / Washburn Review

The Music Department at Washburn often has aspiring musicians that go unnoticed by much of campus. Music performance major Phillip Watson, aka Brail, is a junior double-majoring in music performance voice and cello.

“I’ve always loved music, but one time I was in the third grade watching an episode of Tom and Jerry and he’s playing the bass and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” said Watson. “School told me I was too small to play the bass, so they put me on the cello.”

Watson had originally planned to come to Washburn studying in the field of psychology and using music as his pastime activity outside of school. When he found out he could get  a scholarship for all of his work in music, he decided to take music performance on instead.

Beginning under the teachings of Steven K. Elijah for cello performance, Watson had opportunity to learn what he needed to try-out and get a scholarship for music here at Washburn.

“I had a bout of depression and music was always something that I turned to,” said Watson. “It helped me and I wanted to be able to do that for somebody else, so I started writing.”

As Watson began to find his niche in music and song-writing he soon became the songwriter known as Brail. The name actually came from a free-styling moment with one of his friends who he had looked up to.

“He said it was kinda cool,” said Watson. “Hearing kinda cool from him was the most amazing thing ever, so Brail it was.”

Not only does Watson participate in music department events each year, but he stays an active musician in the community as well. He puts on annual concerts for the youth, leads his church’s praise team choir and does many independent gigs at local music performance venues.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being in two operas with Phillip: ‘Carmen’ my freshmen year and Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Christmas Story’ this year,” said Alex Joslin, junior music education major.

Watson knows it takes more than just music skills to become an artist as he constantly looks to also improve his business, management and writing skills.

Ultimately, Watson has one major goal in mind and a slew of future plans in action.

“I try to be someone everyone can follow; a leader,” said Watson. “But don’t be stupid, it’s hard work and you have to love what you do; strive to be the best musician you can be, but don’t quit your day job.”