Texas Tech University

Student Spotlight: Elijah Ramirez

School of Music Staff

April 20, 2023

Photo of Elijah Ramirez

We want to showcase the students who have crossed paths in the Texas Tech University School of Music; past, present, and FUTURE! In this story, we are celebrating the musical journey of current euphonium graduate student, Elijah Ramirez.

Elijah began his music journey in the 6th grade beginning band, picking up the euphonium for the first time. Ever since his first encounter with the instrument, he felt a connection with music and saw a future with it. “I have felt as though music is a field that I am interested in and could see myself working in.” In high school he decided to study music all thanks to the guidance of his music teachers. “I felt the positive impact that my K-12 music teachers had on me and wanted to have that impact on others.”

Before joining Red Raider Nation, Elijah completed his undergraduate degree in Music Learning and Teaching (music education) at Arizona State University in Spring 2022. He hopes someday to return to the classroom and pursue a career in public education. The decision to continue his education was by his desire to improve his personal musicianship. “With Phoenix being my hometown, I wanted to take some time and see another part of the country. That along with Dr. Kevin Wass led me to choose Texas Tech for my Masters.” During his undergrad, Elijah met Dr. Wass when he did a masterclass, recital, and offered a private lesson to Elijah at Arizona State in Fall 2021. “I was sold on Dr. Wass' teaching and the culture he was working to develop in the TTU Tuba and Euphonium studio.”

This 2022-2023 school year is Elijah's first year here at Texas Tech! During his time here so far, his greatest memory was John Corigliano's residency last fall. “The experience of performing Circus Maxiumus with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble was fantastic and a great way to start my time here.”

Elijah Ramirez and musicians

Photo Provided By: Mikayla Sweet

As Elijah is continuing to grow his musicianship here at Texas Tech, he has challenged himself by participating in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Brass Competition and has tried out for the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass. In these events, Elijah was accomplished as a national finalist in the MTNA Young Artist Brass Competition and as a semifinalist euphonium player for the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass auditions!

In order to achieve the accomplishment as a finalist in the MTNA National Competition, Elijah had to go through the Texas Young Artist Brass Competition and the South-Central Division Competitions. Congratulations to Elijah on winning both competitions and representing the Texas Tech University School of Music as a finalist in the MTNA National Competition! Elijah is the fourth straight national finalist in MTNA in the tuba/euphonium studio (Jackson Stradley 21-22, Cody Hutchison 20-21, Sean Riggen 19-20).

Elijah shares with us his journey and preparation for these events:

“These opportunities were both very close together timewise and required separate repertoire and skillsets. My goal with my preparation process was to be as methodical with all the material as possible so that I did not feel uncomfortable with any of the music asked. The repertoire between the two were very different in both the amount of music and the goal of each performance. MTNA was a whole recital-style performance of full pieces, while the Air Force audition contained small excerpts selected from the most difficult parts of wind band repertoire. For MTNA, I was more focused on presenting a full musical product spanning 32 minutes. For the Air Force audition, I was focused on being as technically accurate and musically representative as possible within 20 or 30 bars of music.”

“My main goal throughout it all was to remember to make as compelling of music as I possibly could, despite the challenges of juggling rep. Travel schedule was hectic but very manageable thanks to the forgiveness of my professors and the help of my friends.”

Congratulations to Elijah and his euphonium teachers on his accomplishments!