Nick Goodson


Photos by Matt Dine

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

I’m sure I had heard classical music before this, but an early memory was in ninth grade: My friend became very interested in Beethoven and would listen to the Ninth Symphony daily. I remember thinking at the time that he was goofy for doing that, but I have since changed my mind!

Was there a teacher who was particularly impactful/helpful? What made this instructor stand out?

My professor during my undergraduate studies always pushed me and still does to this day. As he used to say, “I’ll push you until you get to the edge, and then catch you as you’re about to fall.”

What made you decide to become a musician? Was there a particular performance or person that influenced your decision?

My parents always gave me classic rock to listen to as a kid. I remember playing three different Steely Dan tapes over and over on a boombox when I was about four years old. I eventually became fixated on the drums and began learning them when I was eight. I think my first major influence on the drums was John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

What is the most memorable performance you ever had?

I think that would be a tie between playing Beethoven’s Third Symphony or Sibelius’ Second Symphony with the Indiana University Conductor’s Orchestra.

Tell us about a time you almost gave up but didn’t.

All I can say is that there have been many times that I thought about giving up but something always keeps me going. I’m really not sure what that is.

Can you share any memorable onstage mishaps?

I’ll always remember playing one extra note during a district band concert in high school. I think most people thought that note was supposed to be there—a little stinger at the end from the timpani. I suppose it always reminds me that messing up is never that bad and could end up being a happy memory, in a way.

What is a surprising part of playing your instrument that you think most people don’t know?

With percussion, it’s all about planning. I spend most of my time marking my part and listening, rather than actually playing my instrument, at least in terms of preparing for a classical concert.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?

Listen to music that you want to play, find a good teacher, and always be curious about new aspects of playing you haven’t thought about. Play a lot of different music as early as you can.