Austin Fairley ’20 chose Shenandoah University for its small school environment and welcoming conservatory. He appreciated the detailed attention he received from his professors and the kindness of his classmates, noting that “the family environment is like no other!”
During his tenure at Shenandoah, Fairley worked for graduate admissions as a work-study, which provided him with the experience needed for communicative, organizational and marketable skill sets that he didn’t have before college. He fondly recalls spending time in the Armstrong Concert Hall lobby and performing at the Kennedy Center with friends. He also traveled to Argentina with the Symphony Orchestra, which he was a member of.
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Music in performance, Fairley has been on sub-lists for multiple orchestras, including the Loudoun, Fredericksburg and Capital Symphonies. He has also instructed brass for multiple schools in northern Virginia. Fairley credits Shenandoah for providing him with the networking opportunities that allowed him to make connections and pursue his dreams. He now works as an adjunct professor of trombone for the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, Maryland. In this position, he teaches weekly lessons and studio classes, performs recitals and teaches music theory and music appreciation courses.
The most rewarding part of his career as a professor is helping students achieve their dreams and passions through his weekly lessons. He also had the opportunity to send one of his bands to Bach to Rock’s Annual National Battle of the Bands competition where they placed second.
Fairley’s advice to current and future students is to “be kind and try your best.” He emphasizes the importance of making connections and networking, noting that “you never know who you’ll meet or which of your friends will become your employer or coworker in the future.” He encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities available at Shenandoah, stating that it will be “the craziest, and some of the most enjoyable four years of your life!”