Juilliard grad gives up music career to become a cop
If you ever get pulled over in Garland, you might be dealing with a brilliant musician.
Not a lot of people know this, but inside Garland Police is an officer who has played with at least eight symphony orchestras.
A lot of us consider that to be impressive, but a humble Scott Wollett doesn’t blink an eye. “I am in no way a musical prodigy,” he said.
Wollett started playing the oboe in sixth grade at Arbor Creek Middle School. He continued at Hebron High School and was also in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.
More impressively, Wollett graduated from Juilliard in New York with a Bachelor of Music. The acceptance rate at the school usually hovers around 7 percent.
“I went there to really try and perfect my craft,” Wollett said.
Wollett exceeded that goal, by going on to receive a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. After that, he received a performance diploma from the Mannes School of Music in New York.
The 30-year-old has played with the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony.
Locally, he’s also played with the Arlington, Richardson, Garland, Irving, and Las Colinas symphonies.
Ever since sixth grade, Wollett said the goal was to perform in an orchestra. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“The nature of the business is extremely competitive,” he said. “Even for someone with a degree from Juilliard.”
Wollett said he eventually got burned out. “I got to the point where I just didn’t want to do it anymore,” he said.
He said he had a change of heart too and wanted to focus on a career that he felt was more rewarding.
So, in 2015 he became a cop with Garland Police.
“Usually the reaction is what are you doing here? You’re wasting your talent,” he laughed.
“Yes, music is extremely powerful, and yes, it blesses people in incredible ways. I never want to take anything from that, but I felt like I wanted to do something more.”
Wollett said he finds more enjoyment serving others.
“You know as a police officer, our job is to protect and to serve--and I’m fortunate enough to get paid to do that,” Wollett said.
“Whenever I leave a call, and I feel like I’ve helped someone, it strikes my heart more than playing a flawless concert ever did.”
However, Wollett does get to revisit his roots often. His wife is also a Juilliard graduate and plays violin in the Dallas Opera Orchestra.
He still teaches private lessons, and sometimes will fill-in for area symphonies if they need an oboe player.
“I think the lord has blessed everyone with different gifts, and I’m fortunate enough to have a few,” he said.
But if you ask Wollett, he hopes this is his last career change.
“Right now, I just love it so much. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now," he said.