PRIZM Spotlight: Isabelle Nieves

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PRIZM Spotlight: Isabelle Nieves

Meet Isabelle Nieves, who started with PRIZM when she was in seventh grade! What advice does she have for budding musicians?


How did your interest in music start?

I always enjoyed music even before I started playing but I began in a band and orchestra class in 6th grade at Germantown middle school. I was in art but I accidentally walked into the band room because I was still learning my schedule and I never left. Joining a music program was a happy accident. 


What challenges have you faced during your studies?

Accepting that music takes time and practice is important. I also had to learn how to accept criticism because that was the only way I was going to grow. Another thing I am still working at is audition and performance anxiety. My first year of PRIZM was my first audition ever and I cried. Luckily the staff helped me calm down and I crushed it.


How did PRIZM help with your musical journey?

I have gotten to work with people from all over the world. It is very hands-on so you learn a lot. My first year of PRIZM, I was going into the seventh grade and I could barely read music. By the end of the week, I was reading music like I read books and I thank PRIZM for that. I have also made a lot of connections that can help me in the future especially since I am about to start applying for colleges. I want to get a degree in music education and I got to ask the staff lots of questions. What’s unique about the program is the relationships you create along the way. Some of my best friends are from camp and I got to know the staff very well. They are all very encouraging which pushes me to work harder and better myself as a musician. PRIZM also provided me with opportunities to learn about music from different cultures and they highlight the importance of diversity in the music world. All of these factors have made me a well rounded musician and they are all things I put into my playing. I also got new resources like warm ups and breathing exercises that I use everyday. 


What would you say to other young musicians beginning their music journey?

Have patience and don’t give up. When I started, I was the only one who couldn’t get a sound out of my instrument and I nearly quit. I am so glad I didn’t because when you play an instrument, you are part of such a unique community. Don’t take criticism the wrong way because most of the time it is there to help you improve which in the end is the goal. Make it fun and take in all the moments you have with your instrument.