top of page
  • NSMS

Alumni Spotlight: Paul Riddell

In celebration of our 60th anniversary, we will feature NSMS alumni as part of our Alumni Spotlight series throughout 2020.

Which years were you at NSMS?

I was a student from 1962-1964. Back then, it was just the New School for Music located at 353 Nassau Street. Classes were held downstairs in a large room with one piano and everyone sitting in front of a cardboard keyboard. We took turns at the piano while everyone “played” on their cardboard copy.

Who was your teacher?

Frances Clark

What is a favorite NSMS memory?

Ms. Clark took my class of six to New York City for a demonstration at Carnegie Hall. From what I understand, she had rented the facility and invited colleagues from all over the country to attend. We were able to get out of school for a day and now I tell everyone that I played Carnegie Hall at age 12!

I also think about the New School frequently when I see the scar on my left wrist. Bill (Crawford, another featured alum) and I always raced to the colonial style front door at 353 Nassau Street. One day I missed the wooden part of the door frame and broke the glass portion into a "V" shape slitting my wrist. The doctor next door refused to treat me so we had to go across town to the hospital.

What are you doing now?

In regards to music, I progressed from piano to guitar, then double bass and electric bass. After college, I started singing in both large groups and men’s groups. Professionally, I taught high school for a number of years, then opened up to two businesses that I still operate today in Florida.

What role does your education at NSMS play in your life today?

I was a relatively shy child until I learned to play the piano. It’s not that I was ever a good pianist, but it gave me the confidence that I could be proficient at any skill if I spent the time practicing.

Thanks for contacting us, Paul. We enjoyed hearing about your memories of studying with Frances Clark, and some of your experiences as a student here.

Are you a NSMS Alum? We'd love to hear from you. Please complete this alumni connection form.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page