Jake Schmittling '14
• Senior music education major from
• Performs in the Marching Bearcat Band,
drum line, Concert Choir, Concert Band,
Low Brass Ensemble, Jazz Combo and
• Current Vice President, National
Association for Music Educators
• Alumni Association Director, Kappa
Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity
• Training to compete in an Ironman
triathlon next summer
Jake Schmittling '14 plays at least eight musical instruments: tuba, trombone, piano, saxophone, percussion, guitar, bass guitar and drum set.
The tuba is his primary instrument but the drum set is his favorite. “Drum set is such an important factor in any combo, especially jazz, because the ensemble depends on the drum set player for time, as well as style. The drummer really controls the energy of the whole group. Also, if I am having a rough day, I can go home put on some headphones and just practice for hours and forget about the outside world.”
Jake says McKendree has allowed him to nurture his musical talent in ways he would had never imagined. “I was able to take guitar lessons, and jazz drum set lessons, and all sorts of different classes that sparked my interest. If I went to a bigger university, I would have never been able to play bass guitar or jazz drum set in a jazz ensemble, because there would have most likely been someone at that particular school with much more experience than me.
“My advisors, professors and instructors encouraged me to do many of these things because they knew I could - and it would make me a better teacher and instructor in the future.”
Teaching runs in the family. Jake’s mom, Lebanon (Ill.) High School teacher Marsha Schmittling, earned a master’s degree in teacher leadership in 2013, although their paths rarely crossed on campus.
“It is definitely an interesting experience seeing your parents on campus - especially when they are taking a class and not just there to see you, since my mother attends almost all of my concerts,” Jake said. “It showed me how important it is to be a lifelong learner, in that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you love it. You will constantly want to know more about it, and learn as much as you can.
“I feel like McKendree has allowed me to shine. All of my professors are always pushing me to succeed, but they push me because they know that I can become a great teacher one day.”