skip to main content
Department of Music
The University of Mississippi

Mel Morse – Alumnus Spotlight

Mel Morse

Instructional Assistant Professor of Music, UM

Hometown: Houston, MS
BM in Music Education (1998)
MM in Music (2001)


Why did you choose your major in music?
It was the family business. My grandmother, father, and mother were all teachers. I saw firsthand how they positively impacted their students’ lives, and I wanted to be part of that experience.

Significant accomplishments or memories from your time at UM.
I enjoyed being drum major of the Pride of the South marching band for three years and was a member of the wind ensemble.

Tell us about your educational/career path since college.
Over a 22-year career in the Mississippi K-12 public school system, I was the Director of Bands in three different school districts: Houston, DeSoto County, and Oxford. During that time, my band programs won three state marching band championships and were state runners-up three times.  I had the privilege of helping over 100 students make the Mississippi All State Lions Band and conducted award-winning concert bands. I hope I gave my students a positive experience so they will, in turn, encourage their child to give band a try. I joined the Ole Miss band staff in 2021 and am enjoying help the next generation of band directors be better prepared in the world of music education.

What is the value of studying music in today’s world?
The value is immeasurable! Being a music educator has given me a lifetime of experiences that I will never forget and allowed me to touch the lives of generations of students. I would encourage anyone who has interests in both music and education to consider it. Our profession needs people who continually strive to be better than they were yesterday and are willing to learn new things. It is an opportunity to try and improve the status quo while developing the next generation of musicians. Music educators are important to the future of their community, state, and country. The value is knowing that what you do and how you do it matters to so many. It is a hard but rewarding career path.

For those who are currently on the journey to becoming a music educator, I want to stress the importance of building relationships along the way. Find a mentor and allow them to guide you. Then, later in your career, you will have the opportunity to become a mentor and give back to the profession.  The value is in learning how to be a better musician, teacher, colleague, and citizen. It is a process but try to enjoy each step along the way as you change the world, one person at a time. . . Hotty Toddy!