Growing up, classical music was life for Samantha Kim.

Growing up, classical music was life for Samantha Kim.

"I was pretty much in anywhere from two to six orchestras or ensembles at a time," Kim said.

From high school at Hilliard Davidson to college at the University of Cincinnati and into her career as orchestra director at Pickerington Central, Kim has been submerged in a world of conductors, treble clefs and prim, proper performance.

Now she's been baptized by rock 'n' roll.

"I loved my job, but I hated my social life," Kim explained.

So last year she started forcing herself to go out and ended up making friends at Grandview music hangout The Treehouse. She struck up a musical partnership with some of the regulars, and Ghost Shirt, one of the city's brightest new indie-rock bands, was born.

For someone used to stoically performing other people's compositions in the comfortable anonymity of an orchestra, Ghost Shirt was a terrifyingly new experience for Kim.

"I was always a nervous wreck," she said. "Now I'm just having fun with it."

Kim has become a vivacious live performer, passionately tossing her violin to and fro and ceaselessly smiling. And she has taken a "humming with the radio" approach to writing her parts, exercising her creative energy in previously untapped ways. The past year has seen her sitting in with the Whiles, Wing & Tusk and Two Cow Garage as well.

The experience has inspired her to teach her orchestra students that they can take their instruments outside the boundaries of classical music. Recent inclusions to the Picktown repertoire include Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."

As for sharing her own band's music with the kids?

"I've played them parts of our EP," she said.

Though Kim's day job makes sure she keeps one foot planted in the classical tradition, her musical focus is trained almost entirely on rock right now. She's having a blast, though she admits the stylistic shift has her a bit out of practice.

"It's really scary how quickly you lose the technique for that ... I'm usually throwing my violin around, and now when I go to sit down and read Bach, my hands just won't stay," Kim said. "I miss classical music sometimes, but I'm having so much fun right now that it's hard for me to feel nostalgic."