Thomas Nguyen

Thomas Nguyen performs during the fall Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremony in Storer Auditorium.

  • High School: Cicero-North Syracuse, class of 2016
  • Major: Music with a specialization in Piano

Love of a musical instrument came relatively late for Thomas Nguyen (pronounced WIN). While many Music majors recognize their calling at a young age, Nguyen didn’t start taking piano lessons until the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. “I’ve only been playing for three years. I thought coming to OCC made sense so I would have more time to build up my skills.”

Nguyen started playing on his grandmother’s piano until his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam, made the decision to invest in new one. “My parents have given me all of the blessings and the necessary steps for me to achieve where I am today. I am so fortunate.”

After playing for just three months Nguyen made the decision to participate in a competition. “I really had shaky hands. I was like a rattlesnake. I couldn’t even think straight. I crashed and burned but I learned a lot. Learning from our mistakes is a part of living.”

Nguyen says his Piano professor at OCC, Dr. Kevin Moore has played a critical role in his development. “He’s helped me with the performance aspect. You have to have a certain level of pride when you walk on the stage and say, ‘this is the music. This is the way it’s supposed to be.’ He’s helped me overcome my stage fright which I never realized I had.”

Nguyen’s new-found courage was on-display in November when he played the piano at the fall induction ceremony for international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). “It was my first time playing with an ensemble. It was really outside my comfort zone and it made me a better musician.”

During the ceremony Nguyen was inducted into PTK, an accomplishment he wouldn’t have thought possible when he was a student at Cicero-North Syracuse. “In high school I was the most run-of-the-mill average student. I put in just above the minimum effort. When I was inducted into PTK I felt like I was going someplace in life.”

Nguyen will earn his degree in May and plans to transfer to SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. In the meantime he plans to enjoy his final semester on campus. “OCC is running a fabulous operation. The professors here are great. They teach you how to live life. All of them bring something new to the table, some new way to view life and some new way to think.”

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