Webster Voices - Trent Patterson | Webster University

Developing Independent Musicians, Life-long Arts Advocates

Trent Patterson is a A conductor, collaborative pianist and vocal coach at Webster University

Trent Patterson, DMA

Associate Professor, Department of Music
Director, Choral Studies and Music Education
Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts

“There is an energy in the room that leads to a powerful shared experience.”

A conductor, collaborative pianist and vocal coach, Trent Patterson has performed with and conducted choirs around the world. But it’s the students at Webster University who truly inspire him, in their collective journey performing at venues like New York's Carnegie Hall, the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica and the Sheldon Concert Hall. His passion for music is felt by his students, who are regularly winning awards…and sometimes performing with pop icon Josh Groban, who’s invited the Webster Chamber Singers to join him on more than one occasion.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is likely an amalgamation of characteristics that some of my most influential mentors demonstrated in choral rehearsal and in the classroom. I strive to bring my students into the center of the issue at hand, and I want them to feel empowered and valued. For me, this is an imperative step in developing independent musicians and life-long arts advocates.

What motivates you?

The students I teach are inspiring and motivate me to always work harder. When students begin to realize the importance or intrinsic value of a musical task, there is an energy in the room that often leads to a powerful shared experience. One cannot really control when this happens, but when it does occur, the students rarely forget it.

Trent Patterson instructing choral students

What is the focus of your scholarship?

As the recipient of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, my primary area is choral performance. My studies and my interests include an ongoing devotion to studying music from many historical and style periods. I am committed to continuous assessment of best practices in music teaching as well as identifying new teaching approaches in the choral classroom. I cannot teach as I once was taught, so I think a lot about the pedagogy needed to reach today’s students.

What makes teaching at Webster distinctive?

The varied backgrounds of the students I teach. In my experience, Webster students are rarely unprepared to step up to the plate. As the students and I work together to accomplish the goals I have set for them and for myself, there is this incredible coming together of ideas and energy. Working in the close-knit environment of a liberal arts institution to accomplish big things is really quite special. Webster has for many years had strong ties to the arts community both regionally and nationally. Living in a city that affords many opportunities to showcase the talent and accomplishments of our young artists is something we take for granted.

What is your favorite travel destination?

Usually it is somewhere warm with a beach.

Trent Patterson conducting choral group

What's always in your suitcase?

That depends on how much of a hurry I am in. Not matter how hard I try, I most often am packing at the last minute. So, a more appropriate question might be, “What did I forget to put in my suitcase?”

What is your superpower?

If you asked my wife or my three-year-old son, they would probably tell you that I am Chief Vacuumer at my house. I actually find it quite stress-relieving!

Who is the person, living or dead, you most admire?

I cannot imagine narrowing it down to a single person, but I have been fortunate to have a number of teachers who impacted my life and helped me reach my musical and professional goals. In terms of musical performers outside of classical music, Tina Turner, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, and Conway Twitty are some of my quirky obsessions.

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, playful, and driven.


Trent Patterson posing in office

Music Academic Programs

The Department of Music at Webster offers unparalleled experience and unrivaled training under the guidance of faculty who are composers, teachers, performers, conductors, historians and artists.