Featured Students

Featured Student: Zenon Garcia

Zenon Drum Pad

  • Name: Zenon Garcia
  • Year: Senior
  • Major: Music Education with an instrumental focus
  • Hometown: Elizabethtown, KY
  • Quirky Fact: I buy the same pair of navy blue vans over and over and over again.
  • Favorite thing to eat on campus: Starbooks coffee
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: Megamind
  • Favorite movie: Aladdin
  • Best book you’ve read recently: Vertical Church by James MacDonald
  • Favorite book: The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • What do you like to do on campus: I like to play music in Old Fine Arts late at night.



Tell us a bit about yourself:

I suppose the most important thing to know about me is that I pursue love, truth, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. Those of which I know very little, but hope to grow in as I get older. I absolutely love to write and perform music; I also like to write poetry and find clever ways to represent myself metaphorically through it. Naturally, it all gets thrown together in my songwriting.

I’m a part of a band which is called We Few. We got our name from the Saint Crispin’s Day speech in William Shakespeare’s play Henry V. I get so much pleasure out of giving people a fleeting impression of how I feel through the sounds we make and the poetry I get to recite.

Another thing about me: I really like cats. I mean, being able to snuggle up with a cat is just like heaven on earth.

What made you come to Murray State?

When I visited the campus, the first day I met Dr. Wurgler (Chair of the Music Department) and Dr. John Hill (Chair of the Percussion Department), and from my interactions with them I was overwhelmed with how gentle-spirited, kind, and helpful they were. From that, as well as picking up the vibe around campus, I felt great about my decision to come to this school. Another reason I decided to come here was that I knew the Racer Band was here, which I was really looking forward to. I am now going into my fourth year in Racer Band and have had a wonderful experience the entire time. But honestly, Murray State is well known for its music education program in general. Because my goal is to become a great educator, I knew I wanted to be a part of this university.

Who have you enjoyed working with?

When it comes to faculty, I have the most interaction with Dr. John Hill, who is my percussion teacher. It has been a really awesome teacher/student relationship where I get to learn a lot about how to teach, how to play, how to practice, and how to be an individual through my instrument. I’ve really enjoyed working with Dr. Todd Hill, who directs the jazz orchestra which I have been in for three years now. He has continuously given me opportunities to grow as a musician and showcase my talent. I also really enjoy working with Dr. Mike D’Ambrosio. It’s easy to pick up some of the passion he has for intellectualizing music. I’ve taken about every class of his that I could and have had the privilege of studying with him in Austria, which was pretty awesome.

2 Garcia in Munich (overlooking Marienplatz)


What instruments do you play?

My focus here is orchestral percussion instruments. Primarily my studies include mallet instruments (such as marimba and xylophone), timpani, and concert snare drum. I have been playing the drum set for fourteen years, and I’ve been playing guitar for about thirteen years or so. I also really like to sing, which I’ve been doing since I was a youngster.

Who inspires you in life?

The people who really inspire me are the ones who put up with me even after understanding how much of a handful I can be. I’m also inspired by people who are passionate at being their own individual–whether they’re likable or unlikable, who they are: is just their own person and nothing else. They inspire me to be exactly who I want to be, the most authentic version of myself.

What made you choose the major you did?

I chose music education because it’s easiest for me to use that as a tool in order to help young people realize their own individuality. Once you give a young person an instrument and you tell them to make a sound, whether it’s a desired or undesired sound; you can encourage that sound. After experiencing encouragement, they are likely to explore that sound more and more. Soon enough they will find out how to create different timbres through their instrument. From there they will begin to make music and explore new sounds and ways to express themselves.

Also, teaching music is not really work to me. The logistical stuff that comes along with music education is a little bit more tedious. But when I’m in the trenches with the student, trying to help them count one beat and play it, that’s when it all comes together. If they can even achieve success in that, then I’m doing something right.

What kind of work have you done that relates to your major?

I am currently in my 8th year of teaching marching band. This is my first year getting to work at Murray High School, where I am primarily the bass drum technician. That involves teaching the students to play accurately and artistically while marching. I also give private lessons to students on drum set and guitar. In the past, I have taught at Calloway County High School, Caldwell County High School, Hopkins County Central High School, and Grayson County High School.

Future plans?

I cannot wait to graduate, get a job, and finally make some real money! A substantial amount of money has somehow eluded me my entire adult existence. I’m looking forward to planning for the future financially. I also want to continue to perform and write music for We Few…. It’s so much fun.


“Zenon is a great student and an even better person.  He sets a fine example for his peers and represents the university and music department well through all that he does.  He is also a natural with young people.  I expect that he will make an excellent music teacher down the road.”
-Dr. D’Ambrosio

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