New conductor pushes students to develop skill-set



The orchestra, led by conductor Nina Bishop, rehearses in the Robert-Dubbs Auditorium. Rehearsals are held during Z-block. The orchestra is currently preparing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance.

Maddie Kennedy, Regulars Managing Editor

“Good morning orchestra!” Nina Bishop’s voice calls out in the auditorium. The class offers her a mumble in response. “Good morning orchestra!” She tries again, even louder. This time the class gives a more enthusiastic response. The time: 7:30 in the morning.

New orchestra conductor Nina Bishop’s passion for and experience in music aids her in teaching and pushing students beyond what they think they are capable of.

Her love for music began when her mother signed her up for the violin when she was seven.

“I was thrilled about it from the moment I heard about it,” Bishop said. “I had so much pride in my instrument and I think I was pretty terrible, but I always loved playing and was very enthusiastic about playing.”

She brought that enthusiasm for music to the high school when she began in September. In addition to being a conductor here at the high school, she freelances and performs in groups as a professional musician such as Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Vermont Symphony. She believes that being a musician “feeds” being a conductor.

“The work I’ve done in teaching has helped me learn music quicker at times. It helped me understand more about my own learning process and I am able to apply that in my own teaching process as well,” Bishop said. “I feel that if you understand something you should be able to explain it.”

Senior Brandon Chin, a student of Bishop, described her unique method for getting students to reflect more in class.

“Ms. Bishop asks a lot of questions that require us to think a lot about what we’re playing, and I think that’s an effective way of teaching because it forces us to think about certain techniques we need to use in each piece that we play,” Chin said.

Colleague and music teacher Michael Driscoll believes you must be a musician to be a music teacher and Bishop being a musician positively influences her teaching style.

“It’s great that she has that professional background and is intimately involved with making music on a regular basis herself,” Driscoll said. “I think a lot of the time it is easy for us as conductors to lose touch with what it is like to be a member of our ensemble.”

As a part of her teaching style, Bishop pushes students beyond what they thought was possible.

She declared herself an avocational runner, that is; a runner who does it as a hobby, and is inspired by those who push themselves.

“Every year I watch the Boston Marathon and sometimes it makes me cry because I am so inspired by people pushing hard to do their best,” Bishop said. “That ethic of working on something, and you kind of push a little harder, and then the boundaries extend, and then you can do better.”

She applies that ethic in her orchestra by helping her students extend their own boundaries.

“I think that she has high expectations and she makes sure the students rise to that expectation. My suspicion is that she does it in a way that is not demeaning or disrespectful but is just clear,” Driscoll said. “Demanding more, expecting more as a student may sometimes be irritating, but it’s coming from a place of knowing that you are capable of doing more than you think you can.”

Since the beginning of the school year, Chin said that Bishop has helped him grow his motivation for orchestra.

“It is Z-Block, and we have to wake up extra early for rehearsal, but Ms. Bishop is really good about motivating students to get there earlier and has such a bright positive energy that really helps students transition into rehearsal time,” Chin said.