Ryan began piano lessons at age six. At age 10, he started playing trumpet, performing in both jazz and concert bands in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida. Ryan taught himself how to play the bass guitar in high school, yet he did not discover his true passion until the age of 20, when he picked up his first double bass. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Florida, a Master of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. He has completed Double Bass Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3 Suzuki Teacher Training through the American Suzuki Institute.
Ryan has studied under Kevin Casseday at the University of Florida and Robert Black at the Hartt School of Music. He has also attended over 10 summer sessions with world-renowned solo bassist Gary Karr. During his first year at the Hartt School of Music, Ryan won the Miami String Quartet Competition in its first year of existence. In 2003, he had the privilege of performing at Carnegie Hall with the National Festival Orchestra under the baton of Lukas Foss.
Ryan teaches strings at the middle school level and is the Orchestra Director at a Connecticut high school. He has also taught at the elementary school level. As an adjunct at the University of Hartford, Dr. Ford works with aspiring music teachers. He has been teaching a private studio of double bassists since 1999.
Ryan is a member of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and has also played with the Hartford Symphony, New Britain Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, the Aternus Chamber Orchestra, the Hartt Symphony, the Albany (GA) Symphony and the Gainesville (FL) Symphony. He was a founding member of the Paper Moon Jazz Trio and the Sophisticates New Music Ensemble, and is a current member of the Amuse Blues Jazz Trio. Ryan’s solo work has been featured at yoga studios, churches and synagogues as well as at New Music and Bass Festivals.
Ryan is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the National Association for Music Education. He serves as a board member for the CT Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and is a Lifetime Member of the International Society of Bassists.