Professor Spotlight: Five Questions for Carl Hess


Carl Hess recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. While at JMU, Dr. Hess studied both wind and choral conducting. Prior to that, he worked at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as an assistant professor of music. In fall 2015, Dr. Hess served on the faculty of Virginia’s Bridgewater College. At Moravian, where he is in his first year of teaching, Dr. Hess is the instrumental director and marching band director.

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a professional musician, and as I a grew older, the specifics of my career trajectory became more clear. Regarding my inspiration, I would say that hearing live music at an early age really affected me.

What do you think is the most recent important development in your field of study?

The Internet. It has dramatically improved music pedagogy—especially for students in rural areas. When I was growing up in the South, my parents had to drive hundreds of miles so that I could receive the proper instruction. Now students can search virtually any topic on YouTube and find quality instruction from some of the world’s greatest teachers and performers.

What is your biggest student pet peeve?

I don’t really have too many student pet peeves, but I will say that I’m always saddened when students don’t believe in themselves. Life is tough (a massive understatement). However, self-confidence and a “can do” attitude will take you further than any formal education you can receive.

What was the last Netflix show that you binge-watched or the last good book that you read?

“True Blood.” My girlfriend and I binge-watched the entire series in about a month and a half!

What’s your spirit animal and why?

I’ve always loved cats. As a trumpet player, I can truly appreciate their attitude!