Maren Schutz

Class Year



Washington Island, Wis.




Secondary Education

Maren Schutz fell in love with Carthage instantly after visiting the school her senior year of high school. During her trip she met with music faculty Jane Livingston and Peter Dennee. “Both of them were extremely kind and welcoming,” she said. “I knew I had to come to Carthage.” 

Maren grew up in a school with a limited music program, but she has found her niche in Carthage’s Music Department. “I met my closest friends (and roommates) through the Music Department. Additionally, our music faculty are incredibly talented, supportive, generous with their time, and truly concerned about our well-being and our success.”

With emphases in choral music education and piano pedagogy, Maren’s schedule is packed tight every day. “The countless hours of practicing, sleepless nights, studying, tests, juries, concerts, rehearsals, meetings, and work have led to a lot of frustration, stress, and tears. However, my growth as a musician, future educator, and person have made it all worth it. I can’t imagine doing anything else, anywhere else.”

“The Music Department offers so many performance, education, and extracurricular opportunities, giving the students valuable experiences. All of these things are what I believe sets the Carthage Music Department apart from other music schools.”

Maren Schutz, ’15

Career goal

“I want to teach elementary general music in a public school and also run my own private piano studio.” 

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“It’s hard to choose just one favorite music professor because so many of them have had such an impact on my musical growth. Two of them stand out the most to me. Prof. Jane Livingston, my private piano instructor, has helped me grow as a pianist, introduced me to piano literature I never knew existed, is mentoring me in piano pedagogy, and has been extremely supportive through my college career, especially during the times I struggled the most. The other professor is Prof. Peter Dennee, my advisor and the director of Carthage Women’s Ensemble. A few of my favorite memories from my college experience have been trips that he led: the Women’s Ensemble Spring Tour in Florida in March 2013, and his summer J-Term trip to Namibia in June 2013. He is creative, kind, and one of the funniest people I know.” 

Favorite class

“Global Music Education with Prof. Dennee has been one of my favorite classes so far because it was very hands-on. We played guitar and recorder, did world drumming activities, and sang. I am definitely going to use a lot of what I learned in that class in my future music classrooms.”

Campus involvement

“I’m the Music Director/Third Vice President of Lambda Kappa Professional Music Fraternity, Vice President of NAfME, I’m a member of Carthage Women’s Ensemble, and I’m a member of the new piano quintet, Czerny’s Angels. I also work for the Music Department as a choral librarian and piano tutor.”

Toughest class

“Aural Skills, the one-credit death sentence. Looking back now, I’m glad that I pushed myself so hard the two years I had to take it and spent a lot of outside time preparing for it. Not only has it helped with my overall musicianship, but it gave me perspective of how frustrating it is when you are struggling with a class. I will definitely keep that in mind when working with my students.” 

Internships or on-campus employment

“I’ve had the privilege to be an educational intern with Katie Dolata ’15 for the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra’s Music for Life program, which is run by Prof. Corinne Ness, her husband Dave Ness, and Matt Boresi, all Carthage faculty members. We attended all the concerts of the seasons, then observed the music education classrooms. Sometimes we stepped in to play games, read books, or help with activities. Our main goal, however, was to notate what occurred during the lesson and turn it into a detailed lesson plan. These lessons were turned in to the Ars Viva board. Prof. Ness is brainstorming even more ways Katie and I can be involved with this music education program, which is exciting, because it is very much related to my career path!”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Too many. Seriously, it’s hard to choose what to be involved in! To name a few, I’ve traveled to Africa, I’ve attended the Wisconsin Music Education Association Convention in Madison, Wis., I’ve traveled to Florida on tour with the Carthage Women’s Ensemble, I’ve had the opportunity to become more and more involved in the Music Department with my job, I’ve helped kick-start a piano quintet, and so much more. 

The Music Department offers so many performance, education, and extracurricular opportunities, giving the students valuable experiences. All of these things are what I believe sets the Carthage Music Department apart from other music schools.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“There are so many! I’ll never forget the rush of emotion I felt while singing ‘Silent Night’ in my first Christmas Fest concert, and how I still got extremely emotional the second year. Another favorite was the preparation for my piano duet recital I did with one of my closet friends, Katie Dolata. I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to be in small instrumental ensembles with other musicians, since that was something I rarely had the opportunity to do growing up. Making music with your friends is one of the greatest joys in life! 

My two-week J-Term trip to Africa has also been a highlight of my college experience. It was my first time out of the country, so being immersed in a completely different culture was exhilarating.

Those are all the big moments. The little things — like jokes in class; eating at Einstein’s with friends after class; doing odd jobs for your professors; piano lessons; catching up with a friend of a professor you met during a general education class; and the countless, fleeting, day-to-day occurrences that are constant reminders of why you’re here — those are truly moments to be grateful for.”  

Favorite spot on campus

I have a few favorite spots. The Chapel, particularly when I’m in the middle of the room, sitting on the bench of our new Steinway D. I love the way the light filters in through the stained glass windows. I also love being in there with everyone for Christmas Fest, or for a Wednesday morning chapel service. It’s such a spiritually invigorating place. Einsteins, facing the lake, and preferably eating something pumpkin flavored. The practice rooms, since I spend most of my time there and the lobby in Lentz Hall by the staircase. I spent a lot of time there this summer writing for my job and it is always so calming to look at the lake because it reminds me of home on Washington Island, and home here at Carthage.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How my career plans have changed in the past two years! I’m usually pretty stubborn when I set my mind to something, but I’ve found that keeping my mind open to other possibilities has led to some wonderful discoveries.” 

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“Since I started piano lessons when I was seven, I think I would be very surprised that I decided to stick with it, even though my brother quit. He was taking piano when I started, and was the reason I wanted to start taking piano. I think I would also be surprised that I moved away from home, and even lived here over the summer, since I got homesick so easily when I was younger. I have always known I wanted to be an elementary teacher (music teacher was not always the plan), so at least some things never change!”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Nothing is going to be easy at first, and things will never go the way you plan them. I am reminded of these things daily through coursework and the panic I feel after plans fall through. Always expect the unexpected and always be flexible. Find ways to keep growing and learning academically, musically, and personally. Practice every day because that’s the only way to get better; you’re paying money for your education, so you might as well. Watch your stress levels, and find ways to monitor them. Most of all, enjoy these years.”