NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Creating a positive and safe environment where students can thrive and help their peers succeed is a goal of Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone in Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Music.

While Scott is comfortable performing on stage before crowds, it’s inside the classroom that some of her greatest contributions have been made and greatest rewards have been realized.

“Attending a university means getting a universal education,” she said. “The tradition of learning about all aspects of human knowledge and gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for mankind, nature and culture is a worthy goal. It’s wonderful to see students’ minds expand and grow through their time in college, knowing that gaining more intelligence, independence and skills will enable them to manage their own lives to eventually become contributing members of society.”

An active performer and clinician in both classical and jazz styles, Scott also is the director of SFA’s top jazz band, the Swingin’ Axes. Her solo CD, “Playing Favorites,” was released in 2017 by Navona Records. She is a featured soloist in recitals and concerts with bands and orchestras in Texas.

Most recently, Scott was part of Christopher Bill’s YouTube sensation featuring 28 trombonists from throughout the world performing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In 2016, she was a featured soloist and faculty member in Santa Fe, Argentina, at Trombonanza. She also is regularly featured in radio broadcasts throughout North America.

As a music educator, Scott’s job is unique in that she works closely with each student during the entire four years of his/her college career.

“To watch them grow from high school graduates into adulthood is my favorite part,” she said. “To see those ‘a ha’ moments and to watch them gain insight into life is so rewarding. I love helping them find their own paths to success and being there for them through their struggles. When they perform their final recital, I am proud of how hard they have worked and how much they have progressed.”

Scott feels a unique responsibility in directing jazz studies at SFA.

“I’ve been conducting and teaching jazz bands for 28 years, and it’s important to me to teach and promote this amazing ‘Made-in-the-USA’ art form,” she said. “The community support at our concerts is fantastic, and I love bringing the joy of music to such an appreciative audience.

“Music really is a universal language with such a rich heritage,” she added. “It can express so many different emotions and feelings. Each culture has its own unique sound. Hearing live music is a way for people to enjoy themselves and briefly be ‘transported’ to another time or place.”

For her continued dedication to the musical field and her students, Scott recently was honored as SFA’s 2019 Teaching Excellence Award recipient for the College of Fine Arts.

The Teaching Excellence Award is based on knowledge of subject matter, quality of lectures and assignments, enthusiasm for teaching, interest in and availability to students, commitment to continuous improvement, and contribution to the quality of teaching at SFA by assisting and encouraging other faculty members.