Alumni Highlights: Ross Schumaker

 Ross SchumakerName: Ross Schumaker
Major at ISU: Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Graduation Year: 2009
Hometown: Jewell, IA
Current Residence: Iowa Falls, IA







What were you involved in during your time at ISU:
I was involved in ISUCF"V"MB, KKY, Esprit de Corps, Band Librarian, University Instrument Manager, and Marching Band Student Staff.

What do you currently do for a living:
I am currently in my 15th year of teaching middle school band. This is my 7th year at Iowa Falls-Alden Middle School; before that, I taught 8 years at Mid-Prairie Middle School in Kalona, IA.

Can you share a particularly interesting or inspiring story that occurred in your career?
In my 15 years of teaching, I have only ever taught at the middle school level. It takes a special kind of crazy to work with this age but I love it! I'm lucky enough to get to work and teach with Jeff Schmitt, fellow Iowa State graduate ('10), who is the high school band director here at Iowa Falls. Jeff and I were in the Cyclone Marching Band, KKY, and roomed together at ISU and we are still best friends to this day. I count myself lucky that we both chose Iowa State and that we get to work together as colleagues and friends here in the great community of Iowa Falls! If that wasn't enough, our high school choir colleague here at Iowa Falls-Alden is Mr. Brandon Warring, a fellow Iowa Stater('18)!

Are there other ways that you participate in your community and/or hot to engage as a Citizen Artist?
Each summer I perform in the Scenic City Big Band here in Iowa Falls, the Hampton Municipal Band, playing in the pit orchestra for our yearly musical productions, playing Taps, and running the sound board for church services. I have also subbed for the Karl King Band in Ft. Dodge on trumpet when available.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career?
ISU prepared me for my career as a band director in ways that I didn't even realize at the time. Beyond the classwork and requirements to become a music teacher, all of my professors modeled what it takes to build genuine connections and share their passion daily. I can pour into my students every day because of the teachers and professors who poured into me. At Iowa State, I was able to gain real-world experience that allowed me to hit the ground running right away after graduation.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why?
I have so many fond memories of classes at Iowa State: Doc Golemo conducting the Wind Ensemble and Dr. Sturm's Music History classes both come to mind. Both Doc Golemo and Dr. Sturm had such high standards for all their students yet were so personable in a calm and caring way. I felt at home right away at Iowa State in their classes. I also think of my time in the Cyclone Marching Band and how great it was to be a part of such a large and dedicated group of student musicians and all of the amazing memories we had together. So many of the lifelong friendships I made in college were in the ISUCF"V"MB. From my first steps on the field at Jack Trice Stadium to being on the student staff my senior year and getting to conduct the band, I will forever be grateful for my time marching in the ISUCF"V"MB.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life?
Being cast in my first theatrical production in 5th grade was my first step into the world of performing arts and what set me on my path to becoming a music teacher. Music and theatre have always taught me to strive to become the best individual I can be so that I can be the best teammate possible. All of those life lessons learned in the performing arts like communication, accountability, decision-making, effort, and teamwork have carried over into all aspects of my life: being a good husband, a father, a teaching professional, a community member, and a lifelong learner.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students?
Talent will only take you so far -- hard work, discipline, and dedication are what will help you get to your final goal and destination. 8 am classes might seem like a pain, but getting out of your comfort zone is where you learn the most. Also, the friends you make in college will be your lifelong friends, so choose wisely!