Student Focus: PJ VanDerWeide

Name - PJ VanDerWeide

Major - Instrumental Music Education

Hometown - Ames, IA

PJ VanDerWeide
PJ VanDerWeide

Planned graduation date - May 2020

What are you involved with here at ISU and beyond?

I have been involved in the Wind Ensemble, Groove Drumline Club, Cyclone Marching Band, Jazz band, Kappa Kappa Psi, Esprit de Corps learning community peer mentor, and I direct a brass choir at a local church.

What pieces are you working on right now?

I am currently preparing for my senior recital, so there are many pieces I am currently working on. My favorite pieces however are the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto, and Manhattan by Philip Sparke

What is your favorite thing about your experiences at Iowa State?

My favorite thing is definitely the people. I have met so many people that have become my best friends, and I love that the department is smaller than most others on campus. It makes meeting people so much easier, because you already have things in common! Music students really are the best people on campus.

Why did you choose the Dept of Music and Theatre at ISU?

I knew I wanted to attend a bigger school because of the opportunities and activities that a big school can offer. I love Iowa State because the department is smaller, but the college itself is bigger. The Department of Music and Theatre here really has a sense of community and friendship that other colleges I visited didn't have. There is so much support from the faculty, and there are still so many opportunities to grow and express myself through music here.

What are your interests beyond music and theatre?

I am involved on the worship team at my church. I also love dogs, naps, and reading Harry Potter.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like a job teaching music, but haven’t decided what age group yet - I have loved them all!

Any words of wisdom for prospective students?

Practice fundamentals! While preparing for auditions, spend time each day working on your tone, not just the flashy stuff.