Lesson Feesfrom $50.00 / 30 Minutes
Composer, Saxophonist and Clarinetist Juan Ruiz began his musical studies when he was 11, studying Latin American percussion in his hometown of Caldas Antioquia, Colombia. At age 14, he began clarinet studies at the University of Antioquia's preparatory music school. He left Colombia in 2006 with a scholarship to study English and Music at Atlantic Union College, MA. After one year he transferred to the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, where he was awarded a full scholarship to study a BM in clarinet performance and composition and later a Master Degree on Modern American Music. In 2015, Juan studied at Berklee College of Music with Dr. Shannon Leclaire and George Garzone.
As a musician, I can’t resist exploring the possibilities and expanding the creativity of myself and the people around me. In order for creativity to expand, you must be willing to go down unexplored paths. As an educator, my task is to foster the dreams in each student and also to cultivate my own new dreams. As one of my favorite teachers said in our first class together, “There is no such thing as teaching. There is only something called learning, and we learn from each other. I am only here to guide you on this labor as well as to learn from all of you.”
The foundation of my teaching philosophy is that great discipline and enthusiasm for music drives every student to inspiration and to develop their own voice. I can agree with Stravinsky when he says, “I am far from saying that there is no such a thing as inspiration; quite the opposite. It is found as a driving force in every kind of human activity, and is in no wise peculiar to artists. But that force is only brought into action by an effort, and that effort is work. Just as appetite comes by eating. so work brings inspiration.”
Every musician is a very unique individual and needs a very specific guide, especially at the beginning of their career. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet his or her fullest potential. Guiding each student to find information is more important than just being the primary source of information. If each student can discover his or her own weakness and potential he or she can extend his or her own talent.
In my teaching, I use some techniques that help improve and develop habits for learning. Visualization is a very important part of the process. In short, visualization involves spending time before practice studying the notes to give the brain a chance to understand the “problem” before your body jumps in and takes over. In other words, visualization reverses the process of body teaching mind and allows the mind to teach the body.
Another habit that I instill in my students is the discipline of practicing and composing in a comfortable space. It’s important that the students keep their minds clear and enjoy what they are doing. I communicate to my students that if they are not enjoying their practice, it’s ok to move on for the time being and come back later. However, it’s not only important that the students be comfortable, but also that they work hard to overcome challenges and produce music that they are proud of.
I believe each student should be able to express themselves, to share ideas, and to work with their peers. I act as a guide towards discipline and love for what they are doing. As Maurice Ravel said, ‘’Great music, I have always felt, must always come from the heart. Any music created by technique and brains alone is not worth the paper it is written on.’’
Finally, I enjoy sharing my love for learning. This is what keeps me alive and happy every day, opening a new book, listening and analyzing a new piece and even an old piece, listening to an old musician and to the young musicians talk about their ideas and philosophies.