An Inspiration to Music

This piece is part of a series called Faculty Friday that focuses on staff at McKendree University. Each Friday, the Review team will highlight a faculty or staff member.

By Hayley Luster, Contributing Writer

Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell has been a professor at McKendree University for almost seven years. She is the Associate Professor of Music Education and is in charge of the concert band and wind ensemble, while also serving as an advisor for the music education group NAfME (National Association for Music Educators). She is also an advisory board member for the Music Educators Journal.

Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell


Music has always been Dr. Moder-Bell’s largest passion. She always knew that she wanted to persuade a career that dealt with music in some way. Moder-Bell attended the University of Illinois where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2001 and then went on to her master’s degree in music education from Illinois State University in 2010. Shortly after that, she attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she graduated with an interdisciplinary doctorate of philosophy, music education and curriculum and instruction in 2013. This past summer on June 27, 2019, Moder-Bell married the love of her life, Dr. John Bell. Together they raise her adorable dog, Wiggles, and have never been happier!

Even though she teaches now, Moder-Bell still loves to whip out her trombone and play among fellow jazz musicians in her free time. Along with playing her trombone in her free time, she loves cheering on the St. Louis Blues every hockey season. Moder-Bell described this past season as one of the most amazing things she has ever seen. She was beyond proud to see the boys take home the Stanley Cup! Every game day, she and her husband dress their dog up in Blues gear and they cheer on the team together as a family. Moder-Bell also enjoys participating in marathons. She finds them to be amazing stress relievers and as a way to get away.

Since she has been teaching, Moder-Bell has developed so many different relationships with her students and she truly values the connections she makes with each and every student that comes through the band room doors. Dr. Moder-Bell stated that she believes, “All students should have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts” which is a philosophy she has carried with her every year that she has been a teacher. She truly believes that everyone needs to experience music in some way or another because it builds relationships, it serves as an emotional outlet, and it helps improve a person’s ability to learn and connect.

Hettenhausen Center for the Arts

As one of Moder-Bell’s students, I have learned so much about the importance of music and being a part of an ensemble such as the concert band because it has taught me to express myself and it has given me a whole other family to connect with and build relationships with. She truly makes the four walls of the band room a home to all students and it has been an honor to be taught by her. Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell is an absolutely exceptional human being and a true inspiration to music and music-lovers.


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