Music professor offers life lessons while at Eastern

Liz Stephens, Columnist

If you have ever been taught by music professor Richard Rossi (Dr. Rossi) you would know that you never leave his class without having laughed or smiled at least once. The only exception would be if you didn’t put his markings into your score or if you failed on testing day due to not practicing—then you might have frowned, but it is your own fault.  

As some may know, Rossi will be leaving Eastern after this semester, and he will be missed dearly by not only me but also by anybody who had him as an instructor. 

I have learned a lot of lessons from Rossi that have shaped me as a student, and I am sure other students who have taken his classes have learned the same.  

One of the biggest lessons I have taken from Rossi is his saying: “If you make a mistake, make it a big one—I want to hear it.” I think in a way his saying applied to my student life, because he taught us to be bold and to be confident, even if it resulted in failure. 

Failure doesn’t always have to be something feared but can be laughed at and then turned into a success. It helped motivate me to not be scared of failure when it came to taking a leap of faith in pre-law. Pre-law has ended up being rewarding and one of the best things I’ve gotten involved with while at Eastern. 

Not only was Rossi someone who I cracked very dramatic and diva-like jokes with in class, but he also wanted all of his students to be their very best, and all of his students can attest to it. 

One of my friends and classmates, Clinton Johnson, was mentored by Rossi since he is a graduate student going on to get his doctorate in music after he graduates this semester.

Clinton and I both agree that Rossi does not stop teaching until he has to when class ends.  

When discussing with Clinton what he learned or a lesson he took from Rossi, he said, “I’ve never had someone push me so much in my life.” 

Clinton also said that Rossi cares so much that he refuses to let one section go or move on to a new section of music until Rossi knows that Clinton fully understands it.  

I would like to thank Rossi for being a professor that has genuinely cared for his students and that has provided so many opportunities for memorable experiences.  


Liz Stephens is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]