ROOTS Blog

The staff at ROOTS is pleased to welcome its newest mentor, Ryan Toll. This active performer will be providing private guitar lessons. Welcome, Ryan!

Ryan Toll
Ryan Toll (guitar) 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’s been the highlight of your professional career?
After recording an EP with my band Tumbleweed Company in 2014, we were invited to play the Reading Arts Festival in PA, and also performed at the CMJ showcase in New York City.

In my teaching career, I have been proud to teach and prepare students for admission to music schools such as Berklee.

Are you traveling/tour/recording/writing for anyone now? Who? When?
I am currently in the Nashville-based band Tumbleweed Company, who has been touring nationally and recording since 2009.

What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work & the contribution you can make?
I love connecting with people through music and lyrics, making art that relates people to each other and the world around them. It’s a great feeling to bring out the same emotions in others that I feel when I create music.

Why are you passionate about teaching?
That “lightbulb” moment when a student gets a new idea that opens a door to more learning is why I love to teach. I’m most passionate about getting students excited about learning and the creative process so they can find their own passions!

What type of student will excel best with you as his/her mentor?
I enjoy working with students to realize their own musical goals and to give them an appreciation for all types of music. Students who know what they want to do musically have appreciated the direction and focus I can provide, while students who want to learn an instrument but don’t have specific goals or tastes have liked the broad range of musical experiences that I can expose them to. I am especially good at showing students fast and effective ways to learn.

Read more about Ryan here.

Ryan Toll

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