Alumni Highlights: Andrew Yenzer

Name: Andrew Yenzer
Major at ISU: Bachelor of Music: Instrumental Music Education
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Des Moines, IA
Current Residence: Hartley, IA






What were you involved in during your time at ISU:
I was involved in ISUCFVMB, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic band, SymphonyOorchestra, CySlides, Jazz 1, Jazz 2.0, and Kappa Kappa Psi.

What do you currently do for a living:
I am currently the band director for grades 6th through 12th in the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn- community school district.

Can you share a particularly interesting or inspiring story that occurred in your career?
Our district hosts recognition ceremonies for our community's veterans on Veterans Day, during which the band has the opportunity to perform. This year, the high school presented an Armed Forces Salute song, featuring melodies from all branches of the military, and invited veterans to stand for their respective branches to be recognized. The band delivered an outstanding performance, and I received numerous expressions of gratitude and compliments from the veterans for organizing such a special event and for the band's mature performance.

Are there other ways that you participate in your community and/or hot to engage as a Citizen Artist?
In the summer, I play trombone in the Spencer Municipal Band, percussion in the Cherokee Symphony Orchestra, and will be participating in the pit orchestra for the Cherokee Community Theatre's production of Sound of Music. Additionally, I participate in the Sheldon Adult Band, providing an opportunity for adults ranging from recent high school graduates to retirees to continue playing music.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career?
My time at Iowa State University prepared me by offering numerous opportunities for real-world experiences. I was fortunate to be paired with some of the most experienced and successful band directors in central Iowa, which greatly enhanced my understanding of the multifaceted aspects of being a band director beyond what textbooks can provide. The students I worked with were receptive and supportive, allowing me the space to learn and grow through both successes and failures.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why?
My favorite class that I took was Music History. There were some pretty interesting late-night study sessions for that class with friends which made for some good memories.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life?
I wanted to make a band, which I love, into my job as a band director. But now that teaching music is what I do all the time, finding time for a band just for fun is hard. I had to look for chances to perform in my community, but it's important because now playing trombone feels like my hobby again. It makes me feel more rounded as a person.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students?
Failure is a necessary evil to the learning experience. I make mistakes all the time in front of my students but we are all human and we all recognize that we make mistakes. Reflecting now from the perspective of an educator, I realize that I used to stress over minor mistakes, which I now perceive in my current students as inconsequential.