James Ray maintains an active and varied career as an educator, conductor, and violinist. He is Assistant Professor of Instrumental Music Education at Western Washington University, teaching coursework in secondary methods, string pedagogy, and music theory. He is also Music Director of the North Sound Youth Symphony. Dr. Ray’s arrival in Bellingham follows twelve years as a school orchestra teacher—most recently as director of award-winning orchestras at Port Angeles High School. He has taught strings to students from beginning through advanced levels, both in the public schools and in a successful violin and viola studio.
Dr. Ray is increasingly in demand as a guest conductor, performance clinician, and adjudicator. He is a frequent guest artist with the Port Angeles Symphony, with whom he has performed as guest conductor, soloist, and guest concertmaster. In collaboration with violinist Monique Mead, he is a co-founding faculty member and conductor of the Summer Strings Camp on the NatureBridge campus of Olympic National Park. Additional performance experience includes military service as a keyboard player, violinist, and assistant rehearsal conductor in the U.S. Army Reserve.
As a National Board Certified Teacher, Dr. Ray was selected in 2017 to join a select panel of educators from across the country, advising on appropriate music knowledge standards for future NBCTs. He has also addressed the board of the Washington Music Educators Association on issues related to diversity within the music teaching profession.
Dr. Ray’s research interests center on self- and group-referent efficacy beliefs, particularly with respect to music ensemble performance. His practical interests concern the role of the secondary music educator as an influential force in the lives of students, and the school music program as a place of community. His peer-reviewed papers have been published in the American String Teacher (forthcoming) and Journal of Research in Music Education.
- DMA, Music Education – Boston University
- MAT, Secondary Teaching – Western Oregon University
- BM, Violin Performance – Central Washington University