Building Bridges Between His Interests

Troy Hall speaking at the Honors College commencement ceremony.
As the Honors Outstanding Faculty awardee, Troy Hall spoke at the Honors commencement ceremony in May and will speak during the December celebration as well. Photo by Logan Jackson.

With interests in music and philosophy, Troy Hall explores both passions as affiliate faculty in the University of Missouri Honors College. Hall, who is an instructor of philosophy and percussion faculty in the School of Music, regularly teaches in the Honors Humanities Sequence and lends his expertise each spring semester to the Honors medical ethics discussion group.

With his wide range of teaching duties, Hall interacts with Tigers from multiple degree programs and has built strong relationships with the students he educates. Those efforts led Honors students to nominate him for the Honors Outstanding Faculty award.

“I’ve received a couple teaching awards before, but this this is easily the best award I’ve been given,” Hall said. “It’s exciting to work with Honors students, who have a lot of passion and energy. They love to explore and, like me, they enjoy building bridges between their interests. They push you to be better. Having them honor me in this way is really fantastic.”

Hall has earned the Purple Chalk teaching award and the Green Chalk teaching assistant award from the MU College of Arts and Science student council. Both honors are part of the college’s oldest traditions for recognizing exemplary teachers, advisors and mentors.

As part of the Outstanding Faculty Member distinction, Hall spoke at the May commencement ceremony and will also speak during the December celebration.

“My work with the Honors College has been some of the greatest teaching experiences of my life,” Hall said. “To be able to speak to the graduates was very rewarding.”

Hall found a passion for music at a young age – especially the drums. As his talents grew, he realized that he wanted to pursue music as a profession. A self-taught drummer, Hall got involved with his high school’s band during his sophomore year.

Faculty, staff and students at the Honors College commencement ceremony.
Hall brought the laughs during the May commencement ceremony. Photo by Logan Jackson.

“Once I decided I was serious about pursuing music as a career, I knew I should join band if I wanted a scholarship,” Hall said. “I taught myself to read notes and to play, but I knew I needed some experience within an organized group if I was going to play at the collegiate level. I loved band and got really interested in marching percussion. I also attended jazz camps, where I met some great teachers and was introduced to the University of North Texas, which has one of the premier jazz programs in the country.”

Hall was able to eventually audition and secure a scholarship to North Texas, where he played snare as section leader of the university’s 13-time international champion drumline. He also performed as a snare drummer with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as with the undefeated 1994 DCI World Champion Blue Devils, winners of the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award. Hall regularly judges DCI competitions as well as music and percussion festivals around the country.

While music was still his passion at North Texas, Hall did find himself needing an outlet from the constant competitive nature of his art.

“The summer I spent with the Blue Devils, I overheard quite a few conversations about philosophy, which were really intriguing,” Hall said. “I figured I would take an intro course when I got back to North Texas. I did that and then started to take more. I really couldn’t get enough of it. Pretty soon, I declared a double major. Philosophy was challenging but it was a perfect mix with my music major.”

After graduating from North Texas, Hall went on to receive a Master of Music degree in jazz performance studies at the University of New Orleans. While there, he became an inaugural member of the Louis Armstrong Foundation Quartet at the university. He worked with world-renowned musicians during his time in New Orleans.

Hall eventually found his way to Columbia where he began teaching drumline, logic and ethics at several surrounding universities and finished a Ph.D. in philosophy at Mizzou. He was able to stick around in the philosophy department at MU as a visiting professor after passing his dissertation in 2018. He then moved into an instructor role and got connected with the School of Music and the Honors College. Beginning in fall 2024, Hall will be the philosophy department’s first assistant teaching professor of philosophy.

“It was a huge honor to be recommended to teach in the Humanities Sequence,” Hall said. “When Dr. (Rachel) Harper showed me the syllabus, it looked like my perfect wish list of topics I would like to teach. Every semester has been like that as we get to teach the best of music, philosophy, literature and art. For someone with interest like mine, there’s no better fit.”