Steven Nisbet

Dr Steven Nisbet OAM has been a church organist for more than 60 years. He started playing at his home church, Wesley Methodist Church, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, in 1963 when he was in Grade 12. After 14 years at Wesley, he played for one year at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, South Brisbane. He then held the post of Organist and Director of Music at St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Creek Street, Brisbane, for 42½ years. He has been the organist for Pilgrim People Brisbane, New Farm, since its inception in October 2020.

Steven enjoys playing rousing recessionals at the conclusion of church services and has written reharmonisations and descants for final verses of 156 well-known hymns. His first set of such hymn settings (Sing a New Descant) were described as “excellent arrangements” by the late Dr Gerre Hancock (former organist, Saint Thomas’ Church, New York City). The settings in his more recent and larger set (Creative Last Verses) were described as having “inventive harmonies” by noted English organist and organ teacher Anne Marsden Thomas, and as being “classy and elegant” by Steven’s former organ teacher, distinguished Brisbane cathedral organist Dr Robert Boughen.

Steven’s other compositions include organ solos (mainly Hymn Preludes), plus several anthems for SATB choir, and congregational music (Lord’s Prayer & Five-fold Amen). Many of his compositions are available online at Steven has recorded more than 200 YouTube videos of organ music and talks about playing the organ. His video Understanding Organ Stops has attracted more than 6000 viewings.

Steven was the President of the Organ Society of Queensland (OSQ) for 26 years, is very active in the promotion of organ music in Queensland. He is still a member the OSQ Management Committee after 50 years involvement. He is also a member of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Queensland Branch Committee and conducts organ playing workshops for both OSQ and RSCM. As well as playing the organ, Steven also loves playing the piano, specialising in light popular music and jazz, regularly entertaining residents of nursing homes and retirement villages.

Steven has bachelor’s degrees in science and education, a master’s degree in educational studies, and a doctorate in education in which he focussed on children’s learning of mathematics and music. After his initial graduation from the University of Queensland, he taught secondary mathematics and science for five years. He then spent 40 years lecturing in teacher education (mathematics) at Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education, Brisbane College of Advanced Education and Griffith University (Mt Gravatt Campus).

Steven has published 150 research articles and conference papers in mathematics education, along with several mathematics education textbooks. Steven’s online readership is in the top 16% of mathematics education researchers worldwide. His article on the relationship between Mathematics & Music has been read online more than 3500 times, and his article on assessment in Mathematics has been read online more than 3000 times. He received an Excellence in Teaching Award from Griffith University in 2009.

Steven is a Life Member of OSQ, the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers (QAMT) and the Australia College of Educators (ACE), of which he is also a Fellow. He received an Order of Australia award (OAM) in June 2019 for services to the community through music and education. Steven is married to well-known prize-winning soprano, voice educator and singing examiner, Adele Nisbet. Steven and Adele are currently involved with Pilgrim People Brisbane (New Farm) as organist and choral director respectively.

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