The Heart of a Musician

By Brittany Brown and Olivia Schnetzler

The saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  

University of Mississippi sophomore vocal music education major Cody Morris is talented in different aspects of music and enjoys being so involved with music.  He is a jack of all musical trades.

But, Morris would never call a new task a challenge.

“I get told that I like to overfill my plate with a lot, but I like being a part of different things,” Morris said.  “That’s why I do it.”

Morris sees every opportunity as a way to gain experience for what he wants to do in his future.  He has plans of  becoming a music educator and wants his work to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

“It helps me to have these experiences so I can share with others.  It helps me relate to my future students,” Morris said.  “Being a part of different things has opened up doors.”

Morris has done everything from playing football and trombone to singing in choirs and operas. It took a eighth-grade football injury for him to realize a different path was paved for him.

“When Cody’s football career ended due to knee injuries, he was fortunate to fall into band as his back-up plan,” Morris’ mother, Lisa Morris, said.  “It opened the door for his true passion, which is music.  Since joining the band in middle school, he has never looked back.”

Middle school band introduced Morris to the world of music through trombone.  He admitted he did not like middle school band because it was not as energetic as he hoped it would have been.  Once Morris started high school at Desoto Central High School, his opinion changed.

“I was going to quit, but then I got to high school.  Marching band is a totally different beast,” Morris said.  “I absolutely fell in love with the idea of doing shows and getting to make formations that tell a story through music.  That’s when the idea of music really clicked for me.”

Morris said he became passionate about music in high school.  His high school band director, Dennis Cox, inspired him to combine music with education to one day become an instructor.  

“He always had a way of motivating us to love music.  He really knew what he was talking about and loved what he was talking about.  That’s what sparked the flame for music in me,” Morris said.

IMG_9983
Cody Morris sings and plays the trombone.  Although he has been singing his entire life, Cody has only been formally singing for three years and is pursing a degree in vocal music.  Photo taken at the University of Mississippi music building in Oxford, Miss. on Friday, April 28, 2017.   Shot by Brittany Brown.

“Cody was blessed to have some positive and very influential mentors throughout high school and now in college.  He wants to pay it forward,” Lisa said.

Morris’ passion for music is evident, but he also wants to use his talents to spread music in children’s lives.  In addition to his high school band director being an inspiration, Morris’ involvement in music at his home church in Olive Branch, Miss. caused him to seriously think about pursuing a career in music education.  

A Ugandan children’s choir visited his church, and it was then that Morris knew he could use his music to travel the world and help other people.

“There was a children’s group that came, and they were the Watoto Children’s Choir.  It was just one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard.  I’ve always been drawn to their choir sounds and happy rhythms,” Morris said.

Morris realized he could connect music with education and ministry to benefit the lives of children like those in the Watoto Children’s Choir.  Morris’ friends and family see his love for music grow him as a young adult and future instructor.

“I cannot think of Cody without immediately thinking of music.  Not only is Cody an extremely talented musician, but he is a phenomenal human being as well, which I personally believe is more important,” Morris’ best friend and fellow University of Mississippi student, William Roberts, said.

Katie Riales, Morris’ fiancée, hopes he finds a job where he is able to teach and enrich the lives of children.

“I believe that educators who are passionate about what they do make so much more of an impact on students’ lives.  Cody shows how committed he is to opening the eyes of those willing to learn,” Riales said.

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