Alumni Highlights - Simon McCoy

Name: Simon McCoy
Major at ISU: Bachelor of Music in Music Education
Graduation Year: 2009
Hometown: Atlantic, IA
Current Residence: Dyersville, IA






What were you involved in during your time at ISU:
I took part in ISUCF"V"MB, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band. 

What do you currently do for a living:
I team teach Band to grades 5th-8th at Drexler Middle School. It is part of the Western Dubuque County Community School District.

Can you share a particularly interesting or inspiring story that occurred in your career?
I started my career teaching 5-12 band. I thought that it was only going to be for that first year of teaching. In college, I thought someone would have to be crazy to teach at a school district like that. I had some rough years and a lot of ups and downs but I learned so much about myself, and the vast array of students. I was there for 12 years and I am confident that I can teach beginners and advanced high school students. I learned how to write a marching band show for 15 students, more than half of them Middle school-aged. I learned that it isn't about trophies, and being the best/largest band and only teaching high school. I have helped students achieve goals. I have seen students who couldn't talk to me in the beginning band because they were so shy become students who play solos, become drum majors, and mentor younger musicians. After an unfortunate circumstance that position had changed and I moved on. I love my current job as well but I wouldn't be the teacher I am today with at my time as a 5-12 Director.

Are there other ways that you participate in your community and/or hot to engage as a Citizen Artist?
I conduct the pit musicians for the high school musical. I participate in a few concerts a year with the Tri-State Wind Symphony and I have filled in as a musician in Dubuque's Julien Winds.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career?
I made numerous friends at Iowa State. Many of whom are now colleagues who I rely on to help me become a better musician and teacher. I also took some really good courses that helped me understand all the instruments I would be teaching, and how to work in a public school and work with administrators, parents, and other teachers.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why?
It would have to be Wind Ensemble. The music we played was challenging. Dr. Golemo teaches with a confident calm air. I try to be this kind of teacher when I am in front of my students. I was also given opportunities in this class to conduct the wind ensemble and perform in concerts that were only dreams before. Such as playing in Europe, performing with guest artists, and playing some brand-new compositions for the first time.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life?
Being a student in Music has taught me how to keep my life organized. Working as a 5-12 band director my focus was spread between a lot of different activities and skill levels. Without the rigorous class load I had as a student I don't think I could have successfully taught all of my band classes, as well as all of the other things it takes to be a band director.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students?
Keep a hold of the friendships you make as a music student at Iowa State. Don't be afraid to try a teaching position you didn't think you would like because it isn't the "popular" high school job.

Is there anything that you would like to share?
My wife Rachel McCoy (Ausborn) is also a graduate of Iowa State University's Department of Music. She currently holds a full piano studio at our home in Dyersville. She is a nationally accredited piano teacher, she has served on the board of the Iowa Music Teachers Association and regularly performs/accompanies with band and choir students around our area. So proud of her!