Derrick Nagao is from New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended LSU, where he studied with Steven Cohen to earn his Bachelor of Music Performance degree in 2001. Afterwards, he came to The University of Texas at Austin to study under Bil Jackson and Richard Macdowell, where he received his Master of Music Performance degree in 2003. However, Mr. Nagao owes most of his musical success and love of music to his middle school band director and original lesson teacher, Paul Frechou, who has taught at various middle schools, high schools, and universities in Louisiana while also being an active performer.
Mr. Nagao has been teaching private music lessons going on 19 years. This is his 12th year teaching at Hendrickson High School. He has taught hundreds of students in the Austin, Hays, Round Rock and Pflugerville ISD. Mr. Nagao has routinely been a District/Region clarinet judge for middle and high school Honor Band auditions throughout the years and his services are often requested to teach clarinet Master Classes at various schools, too.
While in college, Mr. Nagao has performed in various Wind Ensembles, Opera Orchestras, Orchestras, quintets, and other small ensembles, often playing principle clarinet. Although Mr. Nagao's music degrees are in performance, he now admittedly doesn't practice as much as he should to maintain the elite skills needed in professional performance settings. Instead, he found his true passion and calling in life is to inspire and help mold the future generations of musicians, like his original lesson teacher did for him. Mr. Nagao believes structure, discipline, patience and being methodical with practice methods will yield desirable results for students. He hopes to be a positive role model and mentor to all his students, not only teaching music but also positive life lessons, hoping that his influence will produce not only better musicians but better humans, as well.