A Thomson High School senior will follow his passion next year and pursue a musical major and career. Aaron Dixon recently was notified that he was accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Acceptance into the prestigious college is through audition and interview only and has nothing to do with Grade Point Average or test scores, according to their website.
"They told me they only accept students who have the 'it' factor," Aaron said. "I don't know what 'it' is, but I guess I have it."
For his audition, Aaron played on the piano a piece that he composed, entitled "Tah Eee." He has composed other pieces for wedding marches or for preludes at Thomson Presbyterian Church where he is the accompanist on the organ and piano.
"What I enjoy is taking any idea or emotion and trying to portray that in music just to see where you can go with it, and it can take you somewhere you didn't think possible," Aaron said.
Aaron first began playing percussion in sixth grade. A couple of years later when he started to learn to play the bells at church, he became interested in learning the keyboard. In fact, Aaron was so interested that he taught himself how to read all the notes. His self-taught skills got in the way, however, when he started taking lessons from Bob Corbitt.
"I remember that when he taught me about fingering, I was mad because I couldn't do things my way anymore," Aaron said with a laugh.
Aaron caught on and mastered the correct techniques as he continued lessons with Mr. Corbitt, who along with Augusta State professor Dr. Martin David Jones, helped Aaron prepare for his college auditions.
Aaron said two ladies at church, Maria McCorkle and Tracey McCarty, encouraged him to apply at colleges that specialize in music. Aaron has not yet committed to Berklee because of the high cost of tuition there. Aaron also was accepted at Shorter College in Rome, Ga., Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Augusta State University.
At THS, Aaron belongs to the Tri-M music club. He also plays keyboard for the high school jazz band and in the pit orchestra for school musicals.
He is active in his church, where he is part of a youth praise team and through which he has gone on mission trips.
The son of Robert Dixon and Rhonda Goforth of Thomson, Aaron said music runs in his family.
His father is the choir director at Bethel Baptist Church, and his older brothers both play musical instruments. Both students at Georgia Southern University, Bruce plays the drums and Ben plays the guitar in a rock-alternative band they call "The Friday Night Felons."
Bruce will graduate from Georgia Southern this year with a degree in finance, and Ben is a sophomore, majoring in business. They have received an offer from the Stankonia Studio in Atlanta to undergo training in ProTools audio digital recording.
"We all have dreams to make it really big," Ben said. "I'm hoping this will help me get a job in music, whether it's recording background music for video games or movies."
Because "the Hope Scholarship won't go to Massachusetts," younger brother Aaron said it will take some help to realize his dream. He said it takes "a passion to work with music at a higher level," and he's ready for the challenge.
"There are certain emotions that can only be felt and expressed when playing a musical instrument," he said. "When I can't express myself in words, I compose music. Life is quite a journey, and I could not imagine that journey without music."
The public is invited to hear Aaron perform his senior recital at Thomson Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 24.