CMR teacher follows dream, finds passion


Russ Kellogg had a dream. — one he didn’t even know was there. Then, his dream became a reality and shaped his whole world.

“It started out an accident and ended up being a prophecy,” Kellogg said. “I discovered it on my own.”

Music has touched Kellogg’s life in many ways. Now he teaches band at C.M. Russell High School and helps kids discover the role of music in their lives.

Growing up, music wasn’t a big part of Kellogg’s life. He was in a military family so he moved around too much to actually settle down with an instrument, he said. In junior high he began to play, and by the end of high school he said that he was ready to devote more time to music.

When he entered college he incorporated music more and more into his everyday life. He didn’t know he wanted to go into teaching until his last years in college, he said.

“By nature I was practical. Over the course of time I realized I was a teacher,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg teaches kids every day, and he said that most of them are already intense and driven. That’s why they take a music class, he said. The hardest part about teaching is getting the kids to care. Most of them already do, but for those who don’t, Kellogg said every day it’s a challenge to his creativity to keep them engaged. Since band has so many different instruments and parts, kids have to learn each other’s parts in order to stay together in the music.

“Band requires you to listen,” he said. “And on a much larger level than just yourself.”

Kellogg said he thinks of himself as a people person, and that’s what he loves most about his job. Working with the kids and helping them discover the joy of music are the things he cherishes the most.

Music goes further than just band, Kellogg said. He loves listening to music, including rap and pop.

“All music has value,” Kellogg said.

Finally, Kellogg said that music has always played a role in everyone’s lives whether they realize it or not.

“Music connects your whole life to events,” he said.

Kellogg said most people can remember the song they listened to when they had their first kiss, or the song that was played at a family member’s funeral.

“Music connects all the dots of your life together in one way or another.”