Maureen Hickey is a third-year dual master’s student in orchestral conducting and violin performance and is from Cincinnati, OH.  

“I have played violin for over twenty years since my parents started me VERY young in private lessons. Both of my parents were semi-professional musicians growing up and my two older sisters were already playing violin. I never specifically chose to play, and I never questioned it, but by my teens, I realized how much I genuinely loved playing! In my senior year of high school, I was a drum major for marching band and I won a competition to conduct a Sousa march with my youth orchestra. I definitely caught the bug for conducting then, but I didn’t have the confidence to truly pursue it until the band director at my undergrad (Gary Speck) gave me private lessons and encouraged me to go on to graduate school.  

“During my first two years here I conducted the campus orchestra as part of my assistantship. I was absolutely terrified of teaching and I didn’t think I was qualified enough to fully lead an ensemble. Last semester, we had a pretty typical rehearsal—nothing notable, but afterward, a few students stayed after to ask specific questions about their parts, showing their engagement and investment in the music. And another couple students told me how much they appreciated me and that I was part of the reason they had decided to stick with orchestra for another semester. I had been doubting the viability of pursuing a performing/teaching career, but those students reminded me why I’m here and why I love this job! It has been awesome to study conducting with Professor Droste and violin with Dr. Chen who have both made me into a much better musician than I was before.”