Meet Dr. Mattson

Faculty Profile
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Photography by Emily Jordan

Please use Professional bio for programs and publications

A student entering Dr. Sheri Mattson’s office is greeted with a wall of beautiful flowers, pictures taken from her family’s gardens. For every flower, there are many more students she’s watched grow. Her favorite teaching moments are attending her students’ senior recitals after four years, knowing how far they’ve come, and that they no longer need her going forward.

You might think that Sheri could just have easily been teaching physics at a university. She has a degree in it. Her identical twin sister is an engineer. Luckily for her students at UCM, she decided to devote her life to music. Music is physics that can’t be fully described by numbers or words, yet music itself can be used to tell a story. That magical quality is what called to Sheri and fuels her need to be surrounded by people who love, play, and teach music.

Growing up in western Michigan, her mom cranked up the sounds of the symphony on Minnesota Public Radio while they cleaned house every Saturday. She poked out her first tune on an antique piano and played flute in high school. When it came time to choose one instrument to master, Sheri took inspiration from a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records that said the hardest instruments to play are the oboe and the French horn. Never one to shy away from a challenge, and a true woodwind fan, she picked up an oboe and went to work.

Guinness was right. Sheri knows all the problems an oboe player can have because she’s had them, become aware, and overcome them through years of practice. That lets her relate with patience, caring, and clarity to less experienced players as well as graduate students. It also has given her the ability to play the oboe with the tremendous control and exquisite nuance necessary to play beyond what’s on the page.

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