Ryan Faas, that's me, grew up in Calgary, Alberta. At the age of 7 I started taking piano lessons from a teacher who taught my mom and myself. I worked hard on learning all the basics and as I got older I went into the Royal Conservatory of Music books and worked my way through the grades taking an exam every couple of grades.
I also made sure to learn all the music theory that went along with each grade of piano from Grade 5 and up. By doing this I was also able to earn 5 credits for each grade completed for my high school degree. Something to make sure to look into if you are in highschool and doing exams.
At around 15 I dusted off my dad's old guitar and started to figure out exactly how it worked. After a few months of tinkering around with chords and some notes I started to understand the guitar fairly well from all of the piano and music knowledge I already had. I just transferred it to the guitar and voila I could play a new instrument, with a lot of work and time spent practicing though.
I spent my teenage years exploring different ways of playing music by joining a few different bands at the churches I went to. Doing this enabled me to learn much better rhythm and the ability to improvise over chords in a song. This skill is something I've been using ever since and am very glad I started exploring years ago.
Around when I was 17 I took my Grade 8 RCM exam and after that decided that I wanted to explore the world of jazz and improvisation more so I switched entirely to doing jazz piano. I spent a year studying with prominent Calgary jazz pianist, Sheldon Zandboer at Mount Royal College and then I was accepted into University at the University of Alberta: Augustana Faculty for jazz piano.
I moved to Camrose, Alberta and started my Bachelors of Music degree. It was a lot of work and even more fun for four years. During my time there I spent countless hours practicing, sometimes 5 hours or more in a day. I learned a ton more music theory and music history in both classical and jazz. I had some great teachers to learn from including Chris Andrew, Robert Thompson, Sandro Dominelli, Rubim de Toledo, Mike Lent, Dave Wall and many more. All of my teachers being phenomenal jazz musicians and many of them being Juno award winning and multiple juno nominees.
While at university I also spent two years studying guitar as my second instrument. This gave me a great chance to really take my guitar playing to a more advanced level. I also played with numerous groups during my time at school and put on two very big concerts at the end of my third and fourth years.
During my first two years of school I entered the Youth Talent Competition at the Calgary Stampede. My first year I won the Don Weldon Memorial award which came with a cash prize and made it through to the finals, of around 15 people. The following year I was the First Runner Up in the entire competion having almost won by the slimmest of margins.
After university I got married and my wife and I stayed in Camrose for a year where I started my own teaching studio in piano, guitar, and theory. It was a lot of fun and great to see my 25 or so students performing at the year end recital.
Following our year in Camrose we moved out to Langley and I've been loving living and teaching out here ever since. It is always great to see all my students working hard on their music and getting better and better. I have students in piano and guitar in all ranges of skill. Some are going through RCM and others are just playing for fun and learning some more improvisational techniques.
I myself am always trying to learn more about music to teach to my students. I am a working musician, composing and also performing occasionally. I spend most of my time, between caring for my son, composing music for sale online. When performing I play for weddings, parties, and countless other functions as a solo act or with other performers. You can see my website to learn more about that side of my musical career.
Now you've heard a little bit about where your teacher came from and hopefully you've seen how much practicing I did to get where I am now. Make sure you put in the same kind of work and practice and you'll be able to play music for your entire life!