Dick Nash started playing a brass instrument at the age of 10. His parents died and, since he was very young, he went to a boarding school where he came in contact with brass playing. His first brass instrument was a army bugle and he was told to play the trumpet. Even then he was attracted to the trombone and practiced it secretly. The bandmaster heard him play trombone and said “the trumpet is too small for you, you must play the baritone.” During his high school days he switched to the trombone and took lessons from John Coffey of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.