Jarrett Nelson started out playing the trumpet in the Escambia County High School band, but when he got braces, he had to change instruments. So he went to the saxophone and became quite accomplished.
But then it was time to start thinking about a college scholarship in music. Jarrett knew there were a lot of saxophone players vying for those coveted scholarships. He talked with ECHS Band Director Hayley Cockrell, who suggested he learn the bassoon. The field of bassoon players is not so crowded and getting a scholarship would be more likely. In addition, Hayley is a bassoon player herself and could easily work with Jarrett on mastering the instrument.
Her instruction was vital, of course, but it was Jarrett’s determination that enabled him to master the instrument and recently land him a $16,000 scholarship to Troy University. In fact, he was one of only 16 in the state to receive a full scholarship.
Jarrett was at Troy earlier this month participating in the Honors Band and had his individual audition at that time. Scholarships were awarded in front of the audience at the Honors Band concert.
The amazing part of this story is that Jarrett started working on the bassoon only last fall. He worked as much as six hours a day, sometimes three at school when he could squeeze the time in and three hours at home.
“Troy gave him the highest recommendation for a scholarship,” Hayley said.
Jarrett admits it was difficult learning the bassoon, especially in such a short time, but his background in trumpet and saxophone helped, as well as Hayley’s work and encouragement.
After getting his degree in music education at Troy, Jarrett plans to come back to Atmore and teach.