Feature a Teacher: Mr. Ross

Hebe Yu

Nine years ago, Mr. Mike Ross visited this school as a teacher from ICS to observe the band classes and exchange ideas with others in his profession. This year, he is our new Symphonic Winds instructor, working alongside Mr.Gavlik to hone the skills of our ensembles.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Mr. Ross moved to Hong Kong 9 years ago.  Having lived in the bustling urban area of Shatin before coming to Tai Tam, Mr. Ross is quite familiar with the city. He met his wife in Hong Kong and has two kids: a boy named Asher who is one year old and a girl named Annie who was just recently born.
While the main instrument played by Mr. Ross is the trumpet, he is skilled in a variety of different instruments, including the guitar. Aside from being a band instructor, he has also had multiple experiences working in the ensemble itself, having been in a drum and bugle corp. He was in the marching band for 4 years during university - and every summer, he was on the road, traveling around the US to perform.
Mr. Ross can be said as a true musician - a passionate music-lover. To him, the best part about being a band teacher is that he can be around music every single day. When asked about his profession, he explained, “Yes, it is work, and yes, it is hard work…. but I feel like being a music teacher, even if you get bogged down by monotonous tasks, such as grading and paperwork - things that aren’t particularly fun… just being surrounded by music all the time can renew you constantly.” He loves working with dedicated teachers and motivated students to create something truly magical, connecting vision with reality through constant rehearsal and practice.
As a committed musician, Mr. Ross enjoys the process of rehearsal as well, for it is a representation of determination. He says that in this process, you take something that doesn’t sound too good initially, then you refine it over time until you reach a final, polished product. Providing an analogy, he describes “Imagine you’re a builder, and you’ve got a big project - you’re stacking things together brick by brick, board by board, starting with what seems like nothing but a big mess... then slowly over time, seeing something that could really be beautiful.”
Aside from playing music, Mr. Ross enjoys activities such as Ultimate Frisbee and swing dancing. He had even played in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament the October of 2017. He has many other hobbies as well but is now mostly occupied by his two young children at home. He spends his free time mostly with his family - playing with or reading to his kids. Sometimes, he even puts his son in a jogger stroller to go for a hike or a small run, and for a breath of fresh air.
Mr. Ross also engages in music on his own, outside of school - given the time, he would go to live concerts - “Youtube is great... recordings are great - but it’s never quite the same as going to a live concert - seeing a really great quality performance on stage, and to take ideas from that which you might use yourself.”
We have many exciting years to look forward to with Mr. Ross as our new band instructor - working together with everyone to turn music into magic!