Introducing Music Theatre Faculty, Jeremy Mossman
Madison Kobe ’18
Every year brings a new wave of freshman and transfer students beginning their journey at Carthage. But this year, Jeremy Mossman also joined Carthage in the Music Theatre department. Professor Mossman has an interesting story that you won’t find available at his Carthage profile page, and he was kind enough to share his story with me, along with some great advice; and just like the new students, he is getting a running start on his career here with It’s a Woman’s World.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. How long have you been involved in music?
I just moved to Milwaukee from Kalamazoo, Michigan but I’m originally from Ontario. Outside of teaching voice I also teach yoga, study Feldenkrais, and aim for a green and clean lifestyle. If anyone wants to go foraging before the season is out…
I have always sung. My mother still tells people about how I would sing (full voice) sitting in the cart in the grocery store as a child. I never expected to pursue singing though I kept being drawn towards it. For some reason I had to find an extra course in grade nine and I figured vocal music would be an easy credit. It led to singing and soloing with the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, being cast in a professional production of Benjamin Britten’s “Noah’s Flood” that toured Canada and also went to San Francisco for the UN’s 50th anniversary, and starting to train my voice more seriously. I pursued Music Theatre Performance at the University of Miami and moved to New York and performed on tours, in regional theatres, and on a few cruise ships.
What are you most looking forward to this year as a new music faculty?
So far it’s been thrilling meeting other faculty who are so interested in finding ways to collaborate, so though I don’t teach a J-term class this coming January, I’ve got an idea in the cooker with another new member of the faculty.
What challenges might you face while transitioning into your new role here at Carthage?
Adjusting to a new school can be a steep learning curve, though I feel like I have good support and mentorship at Carthage.
How do you feel about directing It’s a Woman’s World during your first year at Carthage? Are you nervous or excited?
First off, I’m co-directing it with Dean Corinne Ness so I’m beyond excited! I love this kind of show. When working on a show with a script, you’re confined to that script. When developing a cabaret-style show, you have much more room to explore different angles and interpretations of the music and lyrics. You aren’t restricted to any style or writer - everything is allowed. Its purpose is for the performers to express themselves through their art personally and genuinely.
How do you plan on using your past experience in your teaching?
Everything builds on everything. I feel like I grow as a teacher with every lesson I teach, so there’s no way not to use my past experiences, but there’s also no way to plan to use them! I don’t know if that’s a great answer or a terrible one.
Have you always wanted to be a professor? What made you decide to pursue higher education?
Looking back I think I always was a teacher informally. People would seek me out and ask my advice or value my thoughts and I never really understood why they’d ask me over anyone else. I’ve always been opinionated so maybe people thought that meant I knew things! In my last few performing gigs I knew I wanted to get my master’s in vocal pedagogy (teaching voice) and started to read up, but I wound up teaching in colleges before I had a chance to pursue that degree. It was not my plan to start teaching when I did. I was in the right city at the right time: a new music theatre program started and I had just moved back from New York. It was the right fit for both me and that program. I’ve always felt very lucky that more teaching opportunities found me. The moment I started teaching I realized that it was the right fit for me - I felt a kind of satisfaction I’d never felt onstage.
What advice would you give to student musicians?
Be a part of your art. That’s my new slogan (as of this second). My students are always eager to hear my reflections and opinions of their singing, and when I ask them for theirs it’s as if they never thought about the value of their own. I’m 97% sure I didn’t make this up but I say it to students all the time, “I can’t teach you to paint, but I can teach you how to hold the brushes.” All of the great and memorable artists didn’t fit themselves into someone else’s mold; they created their own.