Top Notch Teacher: Richard Moses

From record producer to choir teacher– a high school teacher decided to pursue his passion. Richard Moses hopes to inspire students to follow their own path no matter where that takes them.

Onalaska High School teacher Richard Moses has always had some form of music in his life starting at a very early age.

“I actually started in the band and I always sang, but I didn’t pick up piano until college,” Moses said.

He ended up getting a degree as a music theory major before becoming a record producer and recording engineer. But Moses felt a calling back to the classroom.

“Doing something else and then realizing, ‘Hey, hey, I miss music, I miss teaching,’ it was probably the best choice I made going back and getting certified,” Moses said.

Moses now incorporates his theory training into his choir classroom lessons, which covers music from the Renaissance through 20th century.

“In their four-year career, they’re going to make contact with a lot of different composers, a lot of different styles,” Moses said.

Senior Sarah Teske has learned quite a bit of the meaning of each piece.

“He tells us about composers and the history behind the piece and the reasoning it was written or why there are certain time signatures. And it’s very interesting,” said Teske, one of Moses’ students.

It also helps bring the piece to life.

“Because it’s not just a piece of paper that has ink on it showing you what to sing, it’s someone’s life work,” Teske said.

Moses said students crave excellence and are willing to meet his expectations.

“If you have high demands and high standards, the students are actually attracted to that and love that,” Moses said.

He balances this with a bit of humor, which Teske also enjoys.

“He’s kind of tough love, but it’s good because it pushes us to keep working hard and striving for success,” Teske said.

Moses said he didn’t always feel a sense of belonging in high school. But it was his music teachers that made him feel like he had a place in their classrooms, which made a big difference. He hopes to bring that same feeling to his students.

He would also like to thank the Onalaska community for its support throughout his tenure at the school.

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