Alumni Highlights - Aaron Schuck

Alumni Highlights - Aaron SchuckName: Aaron Schuck
Major at ISU: Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Graduation Year: 2010
Hometown: Ottumwa, IA
Current Residence: Wayne, NE







What were you involved in during your time at ISU:
I was a part of many ensembles while at ISU including Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Iowa Statesmen, and Symphony Orchestra.

What do you currently do for a living:
Currently, I am a beginning band instructor with the Sioux City Community School District.

Can you share a particularly interesting or inspiring story that occurred in your career?
For most of my career, I have worked with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds where school may not be their biggest concern. One year I had a student like many of us who loved the band from the time they started and they would often be found hanging out as long as they could in the band room. Unfortunately, the student had many at-risk concerns with behavior problems, academic difficulties, and attendance issues in addition to a rough home life. They were at risk of failing 8th grade and a consequence discussed was removing them from the band. After several conversations, a deal was made between the counselor, the student, and myself that if they improved their attendance, they could use the band room as their safe space to refocus and spend time when it was available during my other classes. The student would often come down to talk, work on their homework, and even take standardized assessments in the band room. When they were able to, they practiced during their free time before, during, and after school, were accepted for several honor bands, and were a regular soloist with the band. The student ended up passing 8th grade and moved on to high school better prepared due to their love of music. Music can often be an escape from concerns of the world and your impact as an educator may help keep a student coming to school during some dark times.

Are there other ways that you participate in your community and/or hot to engage as a Citizen Artist?
I try to stay active with municipal bands, Tuba Christmas, church music groups, and pit orchestras in my hometown and teaching community.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career?
My time at ISU not only helped prepare me for my career in music education but connections made in the music department helped me land my first long-term substitute and first full-time position. Being able to participate in extra ensembles and elective education courses sparked further interest that led to earning a Master of Music in Music Education from Kent State University and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Nebraska looking to make an impact on future music educators.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why?
My favorite class was Lab Ensemble with Dr. Golemo. The value of being able to practice and perform on secondary instruments throughout the semesters was invaluable to growing my ability and confidence in every instrument. It was a fun and supportive environment with lots of growth. Of course, it was great to help one another with instrument-specific issues and learn new tricks on each instrument.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life?
Involvement in music has helped by making lasting friendships and professional connections outside of music. My wife and I have moved many times due to job opportunities and professional advancement and music is always there to help open doors.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students?
Take as many opportunities as you can to study being a music educator outside of your primary field/grade level of interest. Taking an extra education course, a practicum with an opposite area placement, or even an extra ensemble may help you start your career.

Is there anything that you would like to share?
You have a network of friends, professors, and fellow alumni who want to see you succeed and make a positive impact on your students’ lives. Do not be afraid to ask for help