It was almost a foregone conclusion; music would play a strong role in Ryan Montaño’s life. Montaño, a videographer with the university’s communication and marketing department, is a professional jazz trumpeter who has been playing music since an early age. And performing music has been a Montaño family tradition for decades.

“My brothers, my sisters, my dad and my mom, everybody played music. My dad was a country singer for 30 years. He had his own band, he toured, he traveled. It was always a part of my life. In some families you try out for the football team. ‘My dad was on the football team. My brother is on the football team.’ For me, my family’s tradition was always music.”

However at first, like many young men, Montaño rebelled against his family’s expectations. When he was 11, Montaño was deciding between embracing his family’s tradition or rebelling against them.

“I was debating whether or not I should go out for the football team or whether I should do band. I think in middle school we’re all looking for some form of status, for me I thought that status would come in the form of athletics and not music. So I had this negative view of music, and I didn’t want to do it. “

While the lure of the football field, and gridiron glory, was strong, Montaño’s brother convinced him that despite his feelings for his family’s tradition, he might want to put down the football pads, and pick up the trumpet instead. In the years to follow, he continued to embrace that love of music, spending hours after work each evening honing his artistic skill.

“My number one passion when I get up in the morning is to play my trumpet, it’s why I get up in the morning. It’s why I breathe, it’s who I am. It’s such a central and important part of my life and my identity.

At UNM, with each video project he finishes, Montaño gets to incorporate his creativity in a new way.

“Like music and playing the trumpet, videography and photography, and video editing, are art forms as well. I still feel like I’m developing my craft, my ability to tell a story. I want my videos to have a good story but also be visually dynamic. How can I balance those two parameters? How can I have a good story and a good visual component? And put them together in a way that is professional looking and can get people interested? At the end of the day, you can have a video that’s really great looking but if the story’s not great then people aren’t going to really care.”

“I’ve been given a great opportunity to be here at UNM to create video. And moving forward in the future, because my music is instrumental, I’m thinking ‘how can I incorporate videos into my music?’

“With instrumental music, when they do a music video most of the time it’s very cheesy, and very poorly done. So my goals for the future for my music are to tell short stories over instrumental music without any dialogue and still make it visually compelling. I think that’s the next direction in terms of the fusion of my music and my videography.”