Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Ensembles Scott Filleman is a recent addition to the Oklahoma Christian University faculty, having become a full-time staff member only last year. However, although he is the new kid on the block, his presence as an educator, director and mentor has already left a profound mark on his students.
Preston Prock, a senior vocal music education major and symphonic band percussionist, shared that Filleman’s reach goes beyond the classroom and into the spiritual walk of his students.
“Mr. Filleman not only has impacted my college experience, he has also impacted my life,” Prock said. “Mr. Filleman, his first year was last year. … And already he’s just made my whole college experience amazing and inspiring. He’s a very inspiring man and I’ve learned so much from him not only as a musician or as a teacher but as a Christian. I’ve actually asked him already if he could officiate my wedding.”
Maggie Mitchell, a junior mechanical engineering major and member of both the symphonic band and the steel band, also had high praise for Professor Filleman.
“I absolutely adore him,” Mitchell said. “He’s wonderful, passionate, an incredible role model who takes a lot of pride in what he does.”
This raises the question of how one man could make such an impact in such a condensed period of time. To start, Filleman employs an education philosophy that focuses on connection and purpose over perfection, which he ties back to his Christian beliefs.
“Christ calls us out to follow him and obey his commands,” said Filleman. “To model Christ, to me, is not to get caught up in the ‘Who does what?’ but in the ‘What I can do for whom?’ And that’s where I’m at. I have a mantra that I say to my bands which is ‘It doesn’t matter what we do, but what does matter is who we do it with.’ And the next part of that is ‘Who we do it for.’”
This emphasis on connection appears to be a guiding principle not only in the classroom, but also in Filleman’s intentional relationships with his students. From directing multiple bands to working on his doctorate of education to raising a family, Filleman has a full plate. However, students state that while managing all of his responsibilities, he still remains wise with his time, taking care to make sure all students are seen and reached.
“He’s so intentional,” Mitchell said. “He’s incredibly perceptive, and even though he has lots of students and responsibilities, [Filleman] really manages his time well enough to still make you feel like you’re important.”
Abby Kumor, a sophomore elementary education major and steel band drummer explains that this intentionality is clearly noticed and felt by his students.
“He cares so much about us to the point where you feel it, you know it, and if you don’t know it, you’re going to know it in a minute,” Kumor said.
On top of being intentional, Filleman is also described as passionate by those he teaches. Kumor stated that if she had one word to describe Professor Filleman, the term “passionate” would be her choice.
“I love Scott’s energy because it makes me want to play better,” Kumor said. “He takes everything that you give him and he will do everything that he can to make sure he uses it to the best of his abilities. So passionate is definitely the word I would use.”
Though that passion is definitely fueled by music, Filleman’s faith plays an essential role in his passion for band, performance and the connections they can form.
“Underneath the surface [of a band performance], we are giving people, everybody, the opportunity to have a moment of intensity of life through music,” said Filleman. “And the students especially, through every rehearsal, through every wrong note, through every right note, through good tone, bad tone, through every rhythm is giving them an experience that is inherently and uniquely human. And that has to come from God himself.”
Clearly, Professor Filleman’s presence on campus is felt by those around him, and his impact shows no sign of slowing. On top of labeling him a “great addition to Oklahoma Christian’s music department” and an “incredible Christian man,” Preston Prock expressed a desire for all of campus, and the world to get to know Professor Scott Filleman.
“I wish that there was some way that we could broadcast this across America because he’s an amazing man,” said Prock. “He’s done tremendous things not just for this department, but for every single music department that he’s been through. You can ask any student that he’s ever had and they’re going to say that he’s changed their life for the better.”