Emily Moe

A Musician, Milliner and Teacher

Contact meCall 218 464 3287

I have often felt as if my life has lacked a thesis. There is no obvious single line of intent running through it. I have worked in radio drama, arts administration, dance, theater, millinery, all manner of craft and music. Truly the list can go on nearly endlessly. While it is true that I seem to be afflicted with a condition that makes me need to know how all things are made, all this has also come from a desire to bring music, dance, theater and all manner of craft to the communities on the edge of the wilderness that I have ties to.

In 2015-16, I took a year in Ireland in pursuit of an MA in Creative Process through the Uversity program, studying mainly Community Music in addition to my Creative Process core module. In doing this, I realized several very important things about myself.

This lack of thesis is my strength. Through my breadth of experience, I bring different ways of seeing solutions to problems I encounter in my work and in life. My medium is mainly people. I make art by guiding people into realizing their own vision, doing this by teaching using techniques that draw out my students own capabilities. I don’t make my piano students sound like me or my millinery students duplicate my own hats. I make my piano students sound more like themselves. I make my millinery students realize their own vision. And all the while I’m stretching that vision, expanding their own concept of what it is to be a musician or milliner. And through them, my own art expands.

In all I do, in fact, all I have ever done, is to attempt to create communities. I actively do this through my work with the Milliners of Etsy, but it happens in my hat classes where we tell our stories while stitching, and in my piano lessons while my students grow with me.

Now that I know these things about myself, I am rooting myself more completely in these skills so that I might use them to create more. I am never sure what is going to happen in the future. I am a “roll with it” sort of girl. What door opens next, what scheme comes to fruition, I am never certain of. I just know that whatever it is will bring out the full passion of my being, because that is also the way I work. It will be fascinating. It will be fun. Watch out world. Here I come.

Emily Moe has been a piano teacher since 1994. She is passionate, warm, and quirky with her students in a manner that disarms shyness, making piano lessons both fun and challenging. Her students look forward to their lessons. Each student’s learning experience is unique. Methods and goals are individually tailored. Students in her studio are encouraged to bond as a group with activities such as group lessons and ensemble playing. Each school year concludes with a celebratory piano recital.

3.10.17— after the shooting in Las Vegas

When were you first conscious about the news? I think it was in 4th grade when Iran held hostages and the presidency changed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. I do remember the cold war as a child because I often had nuclear war dreams. That was definitely elementary school.

Certainly by the time I got to 7th grade I was having opinions about things. My mother told me that I shouldn't criticize Reagan because he was our president. I think that was the same year he was shot and all the classes in school watched the news together. We were confirmed in 8th grade and I know we were starting to have pretty strong ideas about what was right in the world...

(thank you Kevin Maly for instilling that in us. I truly believe that our confirmation class, which didn't make very many lifelong Lutherans did make many thoughtful humans)
... because by then I was thinking about the hypocrisy of church. And using that word.

So when does it become appropriate to talk to children about events of evil? Is shielding from that knowledge keeping them in a bubble? Is it possible that we can because we are white?

I have to ask myself these questions because I've got a stable of kids coming through my doors this afternoon (yesterday everyone was off) and we talk about difficult things. They bring them up-- it's not my lead. But they do trust me to explain things they won't ask their parents.


When I play, there are ghosts.
Of the memories of lovers
long lost.
Of the composers who's hands
first touched these notes.
Of the thousands and millions
of players who have grasped
at the keys.
And I am with them,
grasping at memories of
pain and failure
and fleeting moments of perfection.
When I play, I can't shake the ghosts.
They are with me always.
Hands and hearts haunting
my own, echoing all the
music that has been before.
Sometimes I wish I could lose them
so it could just be
the music, the piano, and me.
But I know in my heart
that the music is the voice of ghosts.

Emily makes hats for both women and men, teaching across Minnesota and the upper midwest. For more information on this project go to moesewcomillinery.com. You can purchase her hats in her Etsy shop, moesewcomillinery.etsy.com.

Emily is a Milliner

Emily is working to create an intergenerational band program for the rural United States. She wants to bring people together with music. For more on this program visit the We’ve Got Brass website.

From August 2015 - September 2016, I was honored to pursue an MA in Creative Process from Uversity, a program of the National University of Ireland. I largely studied in the Community Music MA program Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.

It was a difficult year, but worth it in every way. Here, I share what I saw when I was there and who I saw it with. I do not tend toward taking pictures of groups of people sitting at tables, smiling, because those pictures do not tell stories. Those photos do not show the Ireland that I saw: beautiful, horrible, marvelous, inspiring, lonely, and buoyed by love.

Someday, I may write this story in words. For now, the pictures will have to do.