His brass playing whilst at Bristol was with the University Symphony Orchestra (1st trombone) and with the Bristol Easton Salvation Army Band, then later, the Sun Life Stanshawe Band, his first ‘contesting' band. As he completed his studies at Bath he received an invitation from Howard Snell , the musical director of the Desford Colliery Band, to join the band with immediate effect. As luck would have it a teaching job at the DeFerrers High School in Burton on Trent, in the Midlands, quite close to the band room, came vacant and Steven won the job and joined the band.
Television success undoubtedly helped his early career. On two occasions he won the solo prize in the BBC Best of Brass Competition (1983 with Sun Life and 85 with Desford). He also was awarded the Euphonium Player of the Year Award 1986 and 1993. The Desford years 1983-1989 saw the band playing at its very best, achieving many awards, including the European Championship, the Granada Band of the Year, BBC Best of Brass and the hat trick of victories at the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall. London (1987-89).
He enjoyed the high school teaching too with several outstanding music students going on to superb professional careers in music, He was also the conductor of the school brass band, string orchestra and directed 3 of the school shows.
By 1989 Steven had been invited to teach euphonium at the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Birmingham Conservatoire, and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester . The diary was getting very full and reluctantly the high school teaching had to be phased out over the next 3 years. The professional solo engagements also were already at around 40 per year, raising to its current level of about 75.
It is a spirit of innovation which has driven his career, from his early success with some of the leading brass bands in the UK, to his founding of the British Tuba Quartet to the countless premieres and commissions of new music. He premiered the Euphonium Concerto by Martin Ellerby in Switzerland with the Brassband Berner Oberland, and the Euphonium Concerto by Philip Sparke with the Breeze Brass Band in Osaka, Japan.
Innovative too is his work with the unique Brass Band of Battle Creek (USA), his involvement with the 5 National Tuba Euphonium Festivals (1994-2000) in the UK, and his setting up of specialist euphonium ‘schools' in the Benelux countries and Japan. His innovation has extended to mouthpiece and instrument design, including the new Besson Prestige Euphonium, with many Steven Mead products now in demand the world over.
Now his lives with his family in the little village of Fenny Drayton, near Nuneaton and concentrates most of his energies to his extraordinary solo career, the Royal Northern College of Music, Boosey and Hawkes (where he serves as a clinician and instrument consultant)– and his long suffering wonderful family. Whether as a campaigner for the instrument or on the concert hall stage Steven is rarely out of the spotlight, each year he continues to take the euphonium to new audiences including concerts with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, the Capella Cracoviensis (Poland), London Brass, the Dutch Marine Band and the US Army Band, and the Classic Quintet (woodwind quintet from Bolzano, Italy).