nbk origin story

I’m a planner. I always have been. But what I’ve learned about planning is: be ready to pivot. Be ready to change. Be ready for your whole life to get turned upside down, flipped around, and end up going full speed in another direction. 

We have a few choices in these scenarios:  a) go with the river currents, b) turn your nose to the wind and paddle like there’s no tomorrow, or c) drown. While I still find myself tossed by the waves and shocked by the currents occasionally, I’ve learned to flow with currents and let the river smooth the hard edges, slowly turning my rocky-rock places into smooth river rocks. I’ve also learned that those paddling into the wind times have shaped me the most. And option c) is not OK by me. 

So why am I telling you this?

Because changes shape me. Huge, life altering changes are why I do what I do and why I continue to look forward and help others. 

Because life events impact my teaching philosophy, my sense of community, and my performance style.

Because at the intersection of my personal and professional life I believe in three things: compassion, kindness, and creativity.

So, you’re here. Maybe you know me and maybe you don’t yet. But for some reason you’ve stopped by my site. Perhaps you want to take violin or viola lessons, or need some counseling on how to get into music school or grad school, or you are interested in the podcast, or you are looking for classical musician/violist/stepmom/yogi/stringteacher/LGBTQ ally/academic blog, or you really want to join in the exclusive string teacher co-op. Whatever brought you here, know that I’m glad you’re here and can’t wait to talk with you.

Professional Bio

Nina (aka Dr. Knight or nbk) is a professional musician with degrees in violin and viola. She enjoys a versatile career as a performer, educator, and entrepreneur. 

Throughout her life, her love of performing and teaching has been  fostered by her parents and influential music teachers. While a college student she was awarded fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. The fellowship opportunities instilled a sense of gratitude and purpose and shaped the way Nina teaches and performs. 

Performance and teaching opportunities have taken her to concert halls, universities, and festivals in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In Houston, Texas, Nina maintains an active performance schedule. In recent years she has performed with local chamber ensembles including the Kolonneh String Quartet, the Axiom Quartet (2015-2018), Aperio, and the Texas New Music Ensemble. As an ardent supporter of new music, she has premiered new works for string quartet, solo viola, viola and cello, and viola and dance. 

In addition to performing, she enjoys opportunities as a guest clinician and lecturer at schools and festivals. Currently, Nina serves as the Adjunct Instructor of Viola at Sam Houston State University and runs a thriving teaching studio in Houston, TX. By combining compassion, kindness, clear direction, and high quality instruction Nina provides a safe and nurturing environment for students. 

When not pursuing scholarly and musical endeavors, Nina works with her husband, Dan. In 2019 they started designbyknight, a design and marketing studio specializing in the arts. When not creating curated designs for other artists, managing a media business, teaching, performing, or blogging, Dan and Nina create an array of delicious dips including salsa verde, creamy cilantro-jalapeno dressing, and a variety of red salsas. While Dan’s children won’t eat the dips yet, they do not give up hope and work hard at introducing delicious foods one weekend at a time.