Ryan Toll (guitar • ukulele • voice) brings a passion for learning and a love for music to the ROOTS team. A talented guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Ryan combines his experiences of being a performer and band leader with insights from over 12 years of teaching to give students the tools and motivation to succeed. Ryan strives to instill enthusiasm for learning in his students, confidence that comes with accomplishing personal goals, and an appreciation for music and all the arts.
Born in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Ryan grew up learning saxophone, guitar and bass, playing in multiple area bands and participating in every music program his school offered, from Concert Band and Pep Band to Vocal Jazz ensemble and Music Pit Orchestra.
From there, Ryan graduated with honors with a degree in Music Education from Berklee College of Music in Boston, one of the world’s top schools for contemporary music. During his studies Ryan traveled to Athens, Greece for a semester abroad at Philippos Nakas Conservatory, where he studied traditional Greek and Spanish music. Upon returning to Boston to finish his degree, Ryan formed the group Tumbleweed Company with some fellow Berklee musicians and began performing original music around the nation.
After five years of living in Boston studying, performing, and teaching in various schools, Ryan and his band mates relocated to Nashville, where Tumbleweed Company still regularly performs. Since moving to Tennessee, Ryan has immersed himself in the musical community of Nashville, performing and hosting writer’s nights and creative groups in the area, while also expanding his educational curriculum, teaching music clubs and writing a method book for guitar.
While not performing or teaching, Ryan enjoys cooking (Mexican food is his favorite), garden (especially chili peppers!), reading sci-fi and history books, and having fun being creative!
Q&A with Ryan
What causes are you passionate about?
Other than music, I am passionate about sustainability, the environment, growing my own food, and equality and respect for all people regardless of their background or beliefs.
What’s your favorite local spot to spend time at when you’re not working & what do you do there?
I love to eat at The Wild Cow, a vegetarian restaurant in East Nashville, and I love going to the open-mic on Tuesday’s at Kimbro’s in Franklin!
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
Wherever I can find it! In books, poems, movies, nature, and interactions with the people I meet.
Of all the places you have traveled, which is your favorite?
I spent a semester abroad studying at a conservatory in Athens, Greece, and I fell in love with the food and culture of the Greek Islands, that’s definitely one of my favorite places I’ve been so far.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead