From sun up to sun down, Ryan Addair’s life revolves around music.
As music director at Chancellor High School, Addair instructs students in three concert bands, a marching band, jazz band and percussion ensemble as well as in a course on Advanced Placement Music Theory.
“In the winter, I also oversee an indoor color guard and send students to our joint indoor drumline that has students from Chancellor, Massaponax and Spotsylvania High Schools,” Addair said. “I obviously really enjoy music. It is truly the only form of expression that can express emotions that can’t be described with words. But my favorite part by far is watching the progression of the students.”
What other thing in the world starts with 100 people taking a breath together?
Addair first took up band in the sixth grade, playing the trumpet and then the French horn. He knew in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in music education.
“I realized that this wasn’t just something that I loved doing, but something that I loved leading others to do as well,” he said.
After earning a degree from James Madison University, Addair worked at James Monroe High School and Walker-Grant Middle School in Fredericksburg before joining Chancellor High School in 2008.
“In my opinion, there is nothing better for students than music education,” Addair said. “Learning music in its own right helps students express things they don’t understand how to connect with otherwise. By the time they are seniors in high school, they become true artists. They become critical thinkers, they are able to self-diagnose issues and come up with logical solutions, and they are able to work as a team, among many other things. What other thing in the world starts with 100 people taking a breath together?”
Throughout his career, Addair has also written two books and composed the soundtracks to a few films, including The Eyes Have It, Regeneration, and 47 Miles: A March to Destiny. He recently started working on a graduate degree in conducting at the American Band College in Oregon.
“I truly feel like there is nearly an infinite amount of things to learn about this profession, and I am excited to just go and learn more,” he said.
Addair hopes the band students he teaches feel the same way.
“If you ask any of my students, especially after they’ve graduated and come back to visit several years later, they will tell you that the lessons that they learned in band are the things that they use the most often in their actual lives.”