Ricardo Monzon

Associate Professor
617 747-8515

"One of the things about teaching that I love best is that I learn a lot from the students, especially the students from an international background. At the beginning of the semester, I ask students in drum set or percussion class to make a little presentation to the class of the music that they have done. It's really amazing. We all go, 'Wow, I wish I could do that.'"

"People all over the world have put their influence into jazz to make it more accessible, but jazz connects it all. That's the beautiful thing about this school: people from so many international backgrounds come here for jazz and apply what they've learned from their own traditions. It's amazing to see what they come up with. The fact that they've made their own decisions—that for me is the best thing."

"I want my students to find their own way of expressing themselves based on whatever we have taught them from the standpoint of styles, patterns, history, whatever they have learned. I want them to be able to say, 'Thank you very much for what you've taught me, and see, now I can do this, I came up with this idea.' I want them to have confidence about making their own decisions and conclusions."

"Traditional styles have been played the same way for many years. It can be hard to break that tradition if you're not from the area where a style comes from. You may have ideas but hesitate to express them because of the fear that natives of that area will criticize you; when somebody outside a culture makes changes to a tradition, sometimes people don't take it that well. I would say, respect the tradition and study it, but then build from there. Experiment and express yourself, make it your own. Don't let the tradition stop you; use it as a starting point. Because things have to keep changing."

Career Highlights

 

  • Alumnus, Berklee College of Music
  • Drummer, percussionist, studio musician
  • Member of the Brian Walkley Band, the Zaitchik Brothers, Myanna
  • Performances with the Boston Pops, Barbara Eden, Deborah Henson-Conant, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Guatemala
  • Recordings with the Boston Pops, Walter Beasley, the Dan Moretti Epic Brass Quintet, and Darrell Nulisch
  • Featured with Dan Moretti's band on Jazz Player magazine's play-along contemporary jazz CD
  • Played percussion tracks for the film Squeeze, the Mary Tyler Moore HBO special, Montages on Copan, Mayan Passages, and other documentary films