Meet Mesia Austin: Fearlessly Pursuing Music

By Lauren Highfill

Mesia Austin is a double major in music education and performance who has always been determined to make her own way. But it was only recently that she found the courage to follow her dreams.

Mesia already has a degree in criminal justice, but, she says, “I chose that degree out of a fear of wanting to make money and be comfortable.” After graduating, Mesia decided that she wasn’t completely fulfilled by her nine-to-five job. She did however take satisfaction from the music lessons she gave in her off time. Even while she was studying for her first degree, Mesia was teaching and writing drum lines for local high schools while giving private

percussion lessons. “I love helping kids out and providing them with opportunities for success,” she says.

Mesia created her own opportunities in the area of music when she was younger. She played saxophone in middle school but taught herself percussion after a teacher told her she “would never be able to do it.” That comment peaked Mesia’s interest and determination. Later, when she moved from Mississippi to Georgia, she decided to audition for school band as a percussionist and devoted her energies toward music. Over the years, Mesia matured as a player and gained valuable teaching experience.

Mesia playing percussion in the new Performance Hall.

In giving private lessons to younger musicians Mesia learned about Kennesaw State. “A student I was teaching a couple of years ago mentioned that he had taken some lessons from Professor John Lawless at KSU,” she says, “and I heard how amazing he was.” Mesia gave Lawless, instructor of percussion studies, a call and he encouraged her to audition. “When I came to audition, meeting the faculty, including Professor Lawless, really helped me to decide to come here,” Mesia says.

Starting school again didn’t slow Mesia down. In the past few years, she’s taught at five high schools, written four drum lines, started her own drum corps, worked with almost every ensemble at Kennesaw State, taught privately and served as a percussion assistant for the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra. “Sometimes I’m on the go from seven a.m. to nine at night and I’m not tired at the end of the day,” Mesia says. “I don’t think, ‘I have to go to work’ or ‘I have to go to school’; it’s more fun and enjoyable when you’re doing something you love.”

When Mesia graduates from Kennesaw State, she plans to keep challenging herself. “I’d like to develop my drum line writing skills and expand that to other areas in music,” she says. Mesia has big dreams to help the community, too. “I want to start camps for kids to give them more exposure and opportunities in the field of music.” If the past is any indication of the future, this talented percussionist will continue to be motivated and courageous in all her musical endeavors. She now knows at last that she can be financially secure while pursuing the career of her dreams.

 

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