Musically Inclined

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What began as a pastime quickly turned into a passion, and possible future profession, for sophomore Zachary Phillips.
Phillips started playing violin in the first grade. After years of practice, he eventually made the switch to saxophone by the sixth grade. He hasn’t stopped ever since. In fact, his love of music prompted him to take an even more drastic step– he now creates it.
“I was just messing around on Garage Band and putting those loops together until I started making my own stuff. Now I use Logicpro. It’s basically a premium version of Garage Band for the Mac,” said Phillips. “I made the switch because it had more instruments and features that I could use.”
Along with creating music digitally via the use of software, Phillips also creates and composes for the saxophone ensemble.
“I wanted to get a sax ensemble for a concert, and Mr. Franklin supported me on the idea, so I just went for it,” said Phillips. “It went well, even though we only had a few practices. We are going to have a lot of music for the spring concert.”
There are quite a few differences between digital composition and composition for the saxophone.
“If I’m writing it for physical instruments, it’s usually more difficult because I’m not sure how it will sound yet,” said Phillips. “If I’m writing digitally, it’s usually more simple but not always. There’s a lot of layers that I usually have to add.”
Phillips goes through a process every time he writes. To begin, he plays his favorite key.
“I play chords on the keyboard until I get something I like. My favorite key is B Major, which I start with almost every time. I just love the way it sounds,” Phillips said.
The inspiration for Phillips’ works come from a variety of places.
“I like listening to movie soundtracks or electronic music. I started listening to Hans Zimmer– that’s what got me doing digital music,” said Phillips. “Mostly, it helps me express how I feel. I like making music that I like to listen to, so it’s really fulfilling.”
Phillips hopes to continue his passion professionally after high school.
“My plan is to compose and arrange as a future career. I’ve heard Appalachian State is good for composing,” Phillips said.