The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be highlighting people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.
Today, we feature Juan Ramos. Juan is currently a customer service representative for an e-commerce company and soon to be a full-time educator.
What instrument do you play?
Bass Trombone, Tenor Trombone, and Tuba
At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?
Why did you start playing?
One of my neighbors played the trombone and I thought it was a cool instrument.
What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?
Music literally saved my life. During my transition from elementary to middle school, I was caught up with a bad crowd. Had it not been for music, my life would have gone down a very bad road. Aside from saving my life, music also brought an unbelievable amount of joy and took me to destinations I never would have thought I would see.
Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?
My favorite music teachers were my high school band director and college trombone teacher from Norfolk State University. The reason my high school band director is one of my favorite music teachers is because he went out of his way to purchase materials that I could not afford in order to audition for county and state honor bands. Along with purchasing my audition materials Mr. Cidel mentored me and I ended up making the Florida All-State Symphonic Band 2 years in a row and several other bands and orchestras on the county and regional levels.
My college trombone teacher, Mr. Adams, is also one of my favorite music teachers because he gave me opportunities to run my own ensembles and expanded my knowledge considerably. Mr. Adams always went above and beyond with me and is like a father to me.
What is your favorite band memory from grade school?
My favorite band memory from grade school would have to be making the all-state band 2 years in a row. I was the only trombone player from Miami to Orlando (South Florida to Central Florida) to make the band. Knowing that I came from a low income background without any formal trombone lessons was definitely a huge accomplishment.
Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?
Yes. I played the bass trombone, tenor trombone, tuba and a little bit of alto trombone.
Music has definitely impacted my college choices.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently a customer service rep for an e-commerce company. Soon to be full-time music educator.
How has music helped you in your current occupation?
Music has helped with my current occupation by applying integrity, hard work, and patience which are skills needed in order to master an art.
How has music played a part in your adult life?
Music has helped me realize that it's best to do what you love as a career than to settle for a job because of a good paycheck. Music is a large part of the man that I am today.I have contemplated with what it is that I want to do for the rest of my life for some time now and there is no getting away from music for me.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
Always put your best foot forward when practicing your craft. Love what you do and find the benefits of the hard work that you put into your instrument and see how they relate/ connect to other areas in your life.