Our Students. Our Story. #UMKCGoingPlaces

Photo by Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications
Photo by Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Steven Landis Avoided Regret

At UMKC, the students are our story. Look, listen and learn about us through interviews, photographs and videos of our students. Read the rest of the student stories and go to and follow.


Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition | Conservatory of Music and Dance | 2017 | Winner of UMKC’s Ronald A. MacQuarrie Graduate Fellowship

How has college inspired you?  

Being immersed in an academic environment for as long as I have, I have learned persistence, and I am slowly developing patience and faith, while I continue to learn how to learn.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?  

I seem to be capable of defying the long odds, a positive attitude will often result in a positive outcome, and that sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

Tell us about playing the bass.

She (my bass) is a ham. (laughs) I’ve performed with bands and orchestras throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and I’ve been the Principal Double Bass with the Albany Symphony and the Gainsville Chamber Orchestra.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?  

It’s a three-way tie between, “go practice,” “if you aren’t counting, no, you aren’t doing enough,” and “trust the process.”

What do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire the collegiality of students and faculty alike within the conservatory. There is an esprit de corps, where we are all pulling for each other.

Are you a first generation college student?

Yes, I have had opportunities that were unavailable to generations before me.

What’s your greatest fear?  

Regret. That is why it is always better to attempt something and to say yes to an opportunity, rather than to shrink from the challenge out of fear or apathy. A prime example concerns me coming here to study. I had a modest freelancing career with several orchestras, I had an adjunct position at a small college, my wife and family are all back East. But something told me not to miss the opportunity to come out here, so I listened. This is the most difficult adventure I have undertaken, but not taking this amazing journey would have been a huge regret.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  

Continuing along the freelance career I have already established as a performer, composer and educator, hopefully in a warmer climate.

What is one word that best describes you?  

Spirited. The world can often be a cold and sad place. A smile and laughter, hard work and determination can often change those circumstances. I try to maintain the laid back and gregarious Southern attitude I was raised with, but I harness that energy to affect a positive change in the world around me, most often through music.



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