Nolan Miranda ’17 goofing with his flute during a rehearsal. Playing music at NCSSM, he says, provides a great escape from academic strains. “I can wander into a practice room and lose myself for an hour in playing the piano whenever I want and I invariably leave the practice room much less stressed than when I entered.”
Nolan Miranda ’17
“I’ve grown as a musician at NCSSM in ways I hadn’t thought possible before coming here.”
Nolan Miranda plays two instruments, is involved in four major music ensembles at NCSSM as well as other smaller musical groups and bands that spring up on campus, and he is the only student to have made Eastern Regional Orchestra, All State Orchestra, and All State Jazz Band. We asked Miranda to tell us more about his life at NCSSM, music, and his other interests. Two words: brain games.
On being a musician at NCSSM:
I’m involved in as many music programs as I can stomach here. I am a part of the NCSSM Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and pit orchestra, and I play for a variety of other small musical groups or impromptu occasions here and there on campus (many with the band If You Have to Ask). I play classical flute and jazz piano and still play gigs with many jazz musicians in the area outside of school whenever I get the chance.
When I first thought about applying to NCSSM, I was largely concerned with musical opportunities. My home high school had a very developed fine arts program and I was scared to leave it behind for what was reputed to be a “science and math” school. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the music program is just as good as (if not better than) that of my old school. Mr. Riggs also won a Grammy, which is kind of cool.
I think the best part of being a musician at NCSSM is definitely the escape it provides from the severe academic strain that we all experience daily. I can wander into a practice room and lose myself for an hour in playing the piano whenever I want and I invariably leave the practice room much less stressed than when I entered. It’s definitely challenging at times, though; sometimes you just really don’t feel like going to H Block wind ensemble or getting up for that 8 a.m. jazz band rehearsal. However, it’s definitely worth it in my opinion. I’ve grown as a musician at NCSSM in ways I hadn’t thought possible before coming here.
Favorite class at NCSSM:
Do I have to pick just one?
Math professor at a university
Best tip to avoid procrastination:
If anyone knows, they can email me.
I’ve recently grown very fond of sushi.
One time a friend and I finished a giant chocolate bunny in one sitting.
What book are you reading right now:
Something for American Studies, to be honest.
Other fun tidbits?
I got my appendix removed in the second grade.
Miranda also competes in Brain Game, a quiz bowl trivia buzzer-style TV game show that airs on WRAL. “It’s a battle of fast reaction time, general knowledge, and quick wits,” he says. “Our school’s team made it to the finals this year (our team being me, Alex Chen, Ella Carter, and Tanas Gangadhar) and lost in a close fight to [Raleigh Charter High School] in the championship. It was a fun run and I’m really looking forward to doing it next year!”