OTFORD resident, Freyja Garbett, nearly didn’t get to follow her music dream.
Now studying at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, she wants to encourage other Sea Cliff Coast locals to follow their musical dreams, whatever they are.
Freyja said: “Even if you have the smallest desire to do something serious with your music and there are auditions being held, do it! I never thought I would end up living and studying in the States and my experience so far has been worth it in every capacity. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
Playing music since she was a little girl, violin at age five and piano at age eight, Freyja was determined to make a career in music right up until the end of high school, when she suddenly burnt out and changed her mind.
She pondered a few different paths, working for a couple of years then eventually going to Lismore for a year to study music.
“I enjoyed my time up there and my love for music flourished again. However, it didn’t challenge me enough because there weren’t other pianists in the course.”
Then fate stepped in with the Berklee College of Music coming to Sydney in 2011 to audition local talent; it was only a last-minute decision for Freyja to audition.
“The audition process was surprisingly simple. I filled in some paper work and was allotted a date and time in early July 2011. I played a couple of tunes and did reading and ear training exercises. It was the most relaxed audition I’d ever done. They were really kind and made me feel well received. I found out I won a place and a scholarship only a little over a month before I headed over there.”
Berklee is one of the world’s largest music schools with over 4000 students but 30 per cent are international students and Freyja wanted to encourage locals to follow her footsteps.
“The college is quite generous towards international students and they enjoy providing people with scholarships and funding.”
Berklee offers a number of majors, including Performance, Jazz Composition, Music Production and Engineering, Contemporary Writing and Production, Business, Film Scoring and Song Writing.
“I’m doing a double major in Performance and Jazz Comp and I’ve completed one year – three semesters – and hope to graduate within three and a half years.”
Freyja admitted studying at such a large campus can sometimes make students feel ‘like the small fish in the big pond’ but the solution is to constantly remind yourself to keep on track and remain determined.
“The contacts you can make in this place are never ending and can set you up for life. You never know where you may end up in years to come.”
To view a fun ensemble recital performance at Berklee with Freyja and her colleagues – where Freyja plays organ for the first time, go to