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Meet the Conductor - Steven Nugget

We had a chat with Brass Ensemble Coach, Steven Nugget about all things music, brass, and NYS. Enjoy.

5th grade graduation

How long have you been with NYS?

Spring of 2002 is when I started working with NYS as a ringer with the orchestras. Tara Simoncic (the conductor of the Principal orchestra at the time) asked me to fill in with youth orchestras. 

When did you start playing music?

My first true musical experience was playing the trombone in 4th grade at the age of 9. I was “ok” and sometimes frustrated in my first year on the instrument, often contemplating trying something  different. My mom insisted more time be dedicated. In the first few weeks of 5th grade, I showed up early for band one morning and had time to practice and experiment with  the instrument in a large auditorium.  Within moments of “discovering” the lower register of the trombone, teachers were entering the room in shock to see and compliment me. 

Did you have a music teacher that stood out and had an influence on you?

I have had three main private teachers and dozens of others teachers.  All are individually important and influential in making me who I am as a person, musician and teacher.  The most important recurring lesson, theme and fundamental taught to me was to focus and look for ways to overcome hurdles and problems.  Never to make and focus on excuses.

Did you always want to be a conductor/music educator?

At the age of 14 I started to travel more through music and perform with talented young musicians regularly.  At that time I realized music would always be a part and focus of my life.

10th grade

If you weren't a conductor, what career would you want to try?

If I was not a musician I’d be a chef. That’s what Rosie (my wife) has helped me to conclude.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don't know.

I love to speak in cartoon voices for animals. After a lifetime of doing this almost daily, it's detailed and thought through. Few people ever get to hear this on purpose. 

Tell us a favorite NYS memory.

My favorite NYS experience is watching students work through a challenge on stage in front of an audience. This is a career highlight every time.

What advice would you give to NYS students or to a student who would like to audition for NYS?

Most important advice I have for any student auditioning for NYS is the same advise I offer to every student. 1) Have fun and enjoy the whole experience. 2) Prioritize sound. Play with a beautiful full sound and practice that always. 3) Learn from what you do well and not so well. Make progress your ultimate goal. All rewards will follow in time.