Interview with Ryan Moquete

by Nia Almareles

Welcome to my interview! Today I will be interviewing Trumpet player Ryan Moquete who was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Ryan has one brother and two half siblings. In his free time Ryan likes to engage in some of his hobbies such as Photography, Sketching, Playing Basketball and Video games, as well as going to the gym. Ryan and I met in French class. I noticed he played the trumpet because he carries it everywhere he goes. Ryan even has an Instagram for his music where he soon will be uploading videos of him playing the trumpet. It’s called @ryanmoquete_music.
Interviewer: Good evening Ryan how are you?

Interviewee: I’m great Nia and yourself?
Interviewer: Very well thank you! Are you ready for your first ever interview? Interviewee: A little nervous but let’s get the show on the road!

1. At what age did you realize you were interested in studying Jazz and Why?

When I was 16, I decided that I wanted to play jazz but I did not think I would be going to college for it, only until my junior year of highschool. What made me interested in studying jazz was a summer jazz program I took part of at York College with professor Tom Zlabinger. In this program, we met 4 days a week and for the first half of our days, we would have lectures about the history of jazz or conjure up ideas for thought provoking topics such as “what is jazz?” or “is jazz dying?”. For the other half, that is where we would begin playing tunes and my love for jazz flourished. The energy while performing and even rehearsing was radiative.

2. If you didn’t pursue that route to becoming a musician, what path do you think you would have chosen, did you have any doubts along the way?

This question has always been the hardest for me to answer since I never really had the idea of another route. What got me on the route to becoming a musician was the enjoyment of learning and seeing progress. It is worth noting that my music teacher in middle school recommended I go into a music high school, since he saw that I was one of the few who enjoyed playing and learning what he had to offer. Since then I have been constantly learning about music and what it means to be a musician as well as the infamous imposter syndrome. Throughout this path I have miraculously landed on, there were always doubts of whether my “sound” (physical sound but also playing ability) was good and if I truly deserved knowing, playing, and even learning from many talented players. Luckily, I have had a great support system and learned that most people in this field want to grow. Now to answer the question, I probably would have taken up philosophy since that always intrigued me. Now that I have been studying jazz, I know that is the last thing I want to do because I hate writing.
3. In your opinion, what makes a good Jazz musician? (with Examples)

What makes a good jazz musician in my opinion is two things: 1) how they carry themselves as a player with others and 2) the content/ideas they bring in their playing. The first one refers to the idea of being a good musician in general. You can be a great player and all but what does that mean if no one on the bandstand likes you? The second one dives deeper into the core of a good musician which is their playing ability. The saying “a good musician steals” is what makes jazz in my eyes because even the greats did it. One of the many great musicians who helped develop jazz was saxophonist John Coltrane, who in his playing quotes a ton from Lester Young, another great saxophonist. Another example of a good jazz musician is being able to introduce/pioneer a different approach. The trumpeter Miles Davis is a good example of this because he introduced the idea of modal jazz during the hard bop era.

4. What was your “dream job” as a child? Would your younger self be proud of the career choices you’ve made in the present day?(Give me juice)

As a child my dream job kept changing. It went from wanting to become an astronaut to being a youtuber. I believe my younger self would be proud of where I am right now because I have a set path I am on. As a child I felt as though I wanted to do everything and developed a bad habit of starting something but never finishing. I feel like my younger self would be more amazed that they would have found something to stick with instead of hopping over to something new.
5. How is it that you balance your Work, school, and personal life, alongside your introduction to becoming a jazz musician

Balancing out work, school, a personal life and the path of becoming a better musician is overwhelming but something that you have to get used to. There has to be order and everyone has different methods. The way I do all of that is strange. On the days that I do not have class, I work and vice versa. A lot of time spent during my classes (which right now are mostly music courses) are for rehearsing and in between each class I mostly practice. When I am not doing either I decide to have a social life which in the end is me practicing since my friends are also musicians. We get together and jam out most of the time, but I like to see jam sessions as an “unfocused practice session”.

Interviewer: I love that… Thank you so much Ryan. I really enjoyed this interview. Even though you said you hate writing, you are a great writer. I wish you the best of luck pursuing your career i’m sure you’ll be “un grand musicien”
Interviewee: “merci à bientôt”