Katiann Nelson

Class Year



Waterford, Wisconsin


Music Education (Vocal), Piano Pedagogy, Music Performance

“The Music Department has a lot of opportunities to travel and to perform a wide range of repertoire. And the faculty is incredible.”

Katiann Nelson, ’22

Career goal

“Whatever I do, it will include lots of teaching and accompanying. Ultimately, I’d love to have a teaching position at a university.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Professor Deborah Masloski is my private lessons teacher on piano. Not only is she an incredible musician who inspires me to practice harder and play more, but she is also an amazing educator who motivates and inspires all her students. I was able to play in the Music Department Honors’ Recital and the masterclass with Jorge Osorio because of her encouragement and teaching.

“Additionally, I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who finds such joy in music and who feels so passionately about music education, as Professor James Ripley. I’ve learned so much from his rehearsals, both in the short-term sense about how to play and in the long-term sense of how to educate, remain patient, and keep a positive environment.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage thus far has been Piano Literature with Professor Wael Farouk. It was incredibly challenging. The class included an in-depth discussion about piano composers, music history, and individual piano pieces. The class teaches you to synthesize what you know about the composer’s biography, the stylistic norms of the period, and the overall trends of music history to inform your personal performance and assess the performances of others.”

Campus involvement

“Lots of my involvement revolves around the Music Department. I am a part of the Wind Orchestra, Carthage Choir, and Carthage Philharmonic. I also played trombone in the Jazz Ensemble. In addition to tutoring in the Keyboard Lab and working as the arts academy assistant, I also teach piano with the Arts Academy.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I haven’t had any internships, but I have had a couple of jobs on campus. For the past three semesters, I have been a tutor in the Keyboard Skills Lab, which is a fantastic teaching experience. I am also a student assistant for the Carthage Arts Academy, which is teaching me how to operate the inside workings of a community-based program. Additionally, I play piano for the Center for Faith and Spirituality’s Tuesday afternoon chapel services.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I went on a J-Term trip to Japan with the Wind Orchestra. We spent 12 days touring the country, with four performances at two different elementary schools, a high school, and a university. I also had the opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the Wind Orchestra, which was incredibly daunting, but it also taught me a lot about how I operate as a musician. More than that, the entire experience reaffirmed the idea that music gives us students a reason to belong. Though thousands of miles away from my home, there were moments in Japan when I experienced this overwhelming sense of belonging and community through playing music and listening to music with our Japanese music friends.

“In more travel news, over the summer, the Carthage Choir sang (and won!) in an international chorale competition in Spittal, Austria. Similar to Japan, the interaction with choirs from around the world was amazing. Our U.S. choir became particularly close with the choir from South Africa, and it was fabulous to compete against one another but also make genuine friends too! Lots of travel opportunities!”


“I received both academic and music scholarships to attend Carthage. Receiving the scholarships means I can afford to be here and helps tremendously with the financial side of higher education.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“It’s so hard to put into words all of the little moments and memories and experiences that I’ve had with my friends and the Carthage community, but one of my favorite memories thus far was getting to play “O Come All Ye Faithful” as the closing piece of Christmas Festival. There’s such a collective sense of joy from all of the students, audience members, and directors. It’s amazing to be a part of.

“Outside of academics, there was a really warm day last spring semester where my friends and I went to Big Star, which is a drive-in diner in Kenosha, grabbed our food, and had picnic on the shores of Lake Michigan. Fun memories!”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is right on the lake. There’s tons of benches and chairs, and it’s so nice to just take a beat every once in a while and look at the lake, especially passing between classes on a stressful day. There’s nothing as calming as feeling the wind off the lake and hearing the waves.”

Biggest surprise so far

“When I initially came to campus, the biggest surprise for me was the community within the Music Department. Where I was expecting competitiveness, I instead got an incredible sense of support. There’s a genuine hope for success.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“8-year-old me would probably not be surprised. I’ve always wanted to teach and play music, and I’m incredibly glad that I’ve found the place best suited for those hopes.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“No matter where you end up, if you’re pursuing music, be prepared to be in a practice room. That’s where all of the real learning and growth happens. If you’re not practicing, you’re never going to get anywhere.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage for a couple of reasons. Primarily, it was the only university I toured and applied to that was willing to work with me as a three-instrument student. Most other colleges asked me to choose one, but at Carthage, the faculty has the communication and flexibility to make these types of accommodations. I was also drawn to all of the Music Department faculty members; they are an incredible group of people and musicians.”