Ivy Ricci | Instructor Bio

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  • What is your teaching philosophy?
    My approach to education hearkens back to its Latin roots in the word educare, which is a combination of the words e (out) and ducare (lead, drawing), or drawing out . I aim to draw out the innate musicality of each student that I have the honor to teach. There is a joy, a flow, in connecting with the essence of creativity. That is what I seek to ignite in the students I work with, and from there, their own unique talents, skills and voicings can emerge and make the world a better place. I believe that in this way, teaching and learning music is one of the most wonderful vehicles for social change.

    How long have you been teaching music? At YMP?
    I have been teaching music for 15 years, and at YMP since the summer of 2016.

    What is your favorite thing about teaching music?
    My two favorite things about teaching music are: watching a new skill that seemed out of reach take root; and how much I learn from my students.

    What do you expect of your students in classes/lessons?
    I expect my students to show up with an open mind and a willingness to try challenging new things.

  • What do you expect of students’ parents?
    I expect my students parents to be supportive by encouraging the young musicians in their household to practice and by giving them positive feedback.

    When did you first start playing music?
    I started playing music as soon as I was born! My heartbeat kept the rhythm along with my blinking eyes and breath. My coos and cries were my first songs.

    What is your educational background? Did you study music in school and/or privately?
    I began studying voice at the age of 10. A few years later I started to learn flute, and a year after that I added piano lessons. In eighth grade I played Keyboard in a ska band called ‘The Footprints’. At 18 I was the drummer for a punk-rock band named ‘The Seventh Graders’. My first stringed instrument was a 4-string tenor banjo named Alex that I got when I was 19 and I started writing songs with that. Next came guitar…I picked up my Mom’s old guitar when I was 20, and had it in hand as I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (with a minor in Education).

    Do you play in any bands / perform in the Portland area?
    These days, I mostly perform in Portland under my own name. Sometimes I play solo shows and often I gather up a few of the many gifted musicians in the Portland area to back me up.

    What is the first song you learned how to play and how old were you?
    The first song I learned on guitar was ‘He was a friend of mine’ by Bob Dylan.

    How do you handle mistakes while practicing or during a performance?
    While practicing, I repeat the part until I get it. While performing, I own it, smile, and move on.

    Describe a skill on your instrument that was a challenge and you’ve had to work very hard to achieve.
    It is a HUGE challenge for me to play a complex drum beat and sing at the same time. I’m still working on it!

    Who are your musical influences?
    Odetta, Fugazi, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Beethoven, The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, & Memphis Minnie to name a few that are quite well known. Otherwise, my greatest musical influences are birds, urban orchestras, my incredibly talented colleagues, and my students.

    What do you feel when you play music?
    I feel grounded, at-home, and the thrill of being alive.

    If you had the chance to study and/or perform with any musician, living or deceased, who would it be?
    Mavis Staples.

    When did you know you wanted to be musician?
    I discovered the complete joy of music, particularly in singing harmony, when I was 10 and was given my first box-set of Beatles cassettes. You could say that’s when I knew. But for the most part, being a musician is not something that I ever knew I wanted to be, rather something that I have always been.

    If you weren’t a musician/teacher what might you be?
    A pilot.