Orchestra Under New Direction


Matthew Jacobi

Mr. Rueschhoff conducting the orchestra during the week of the first concert. The new teacher graduated from Truman State and PHS is his first high school experience.

Talisa Prabhu, Staff Writer

Orchestra has undergone a dramatic change. Mr. Dunsmoor, the previous orchestra director, is taking a break, and Mr. Rueschhoff is filling in his place. This means that the experience of being in orchestra is going to look different. Students have focused on learning new techniques and strategies to better their playing. Student-led concerts is also something that the new director is looking to implement.

Mr. Rueschhoff said, “I was actually in Venice, Italy, on a high school orchestra trip when my orchestra director mentioned that I would make a good strings teacher! Ever since then, I had always thought that this would be the job I would be happiest in.”

Mr. Rueschhoff attended Truman State University and received a Master’s degree in Cello Performance and Education. Though this is his first full-time teaching position, he has conducted a community orchestra in the past.

While having a new director takes some getting used to, Sarah Pieper, violinist and junior in Symphonic Orchestra, said, “Mr. Rueschhoff’s direction and emphasis on goal orientation has pushed our orchestra to improve our rehearsal performance, implement effective practice strategies, and refine our knowledge of music theory.”

Symphonic Orchestra violist Justin Bowers, a senior, said, “Our classes are completely scheduled out and planned, which I am a huge fan of. The goal setting which we now do every week is also a noticeably new thing, and one which I greatly appreciate as it helps provide a focus for the class and can even help motivate people to be practicing outside of class without the stress of something such as a practice log.”

Mr. Rueschhoff’s main goal for this year is to “encourage self-regulated practicing.”

“This means having students learn how to practice efficiently and learn how to solve issues on their own,” he explained. He is also hoping to have students conduct their peers at a concert.

Rueschhoff said that the “hardest part of being a director is coordinating all of the behind the scenes work like organizing concert venues.” His favorite part is “getting to make music with students every single day.”

He enjoys music and wants to be able to share it with students. “Music allows me to experience a much wider array of emotions than I otherwise experience in a day – and through this, come to understand the world a little bit better.”