by Taylor Bye
Life lessons usually start at home. For band teacher Ryan Larson, music lessons also started there.
“My mom got me started on piano lessons when I was five or six,” he said. “My dad was a band director and led worship at my church. As a family we did lots of singing and music, and it set me up for success in that area.”
Larson, whose love for music started on the piano keys then moved to the fretboard of a guitar to finally rest atop the head of a drum kit, grew up in Clearwater, Minnesota. A small town that had no local high school, forcing him to attended school in Annandale. It was there where he fostered a love for teaching.
“I always remember that school came very natural to me,” he said. “I was always able to help some of my friends with their homework and it was always just fun for me to see them go from a place of not getting it to getting it.”
He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, majoring in Music Education and previously teaching music at Roseville High School part time. When he began to look for something different, he found Minnehaha Academy and the open position left by Jill Westermeyer.
“[Minnehaha] was very attractive to me for a number of reasons,” he said. “One was it being a Christian, private school. With my faith being very central to my life, I was very excited to be able to incorporate that into more of my teaching.”
For Larson, music itself is one of the best ways he connects to God. His hope is as a teacher at Minnehaha, he can encourage his students to grow spiritually through music.
“I want to inspire them to love music and be able to take that with them through the rest of their lives and enjoy music as a way of connecting with God and others.”