Ricky Roehm comes from a family of musicians including a cousin who played the tuba in Penn State’s renowned Blue Band. The trombonist initially planned to keep music as a side gig and pursue a degree in finance at Penn State Abington, but Roehm discovered the integrative arts major during his sophomore year and never looked back.
“I decided to change my major to integrative arts with a focus on music entrepreneurship because music is my real passion,” he said.
Roehm plays trombone, euphonium, and tuba. At Abington, the junior appears with the jazz band, jazz combo, and chamber choir. He also makes music with the cover band Plaid Salmon, the Philadelphia Wind Symphony, and the quintet Riptide Bass.
Being an integrative arts major has given him a different outlook on his career.
“The music professors here are very insightful and encouraging. They have showed me ways to stand out among other musicians and to expand my musicianship to the best of my ability,” Roehm said.
One example is Rob Haffley, assistant teaching professor of integrative arts.
“Rob has taught me to expand my knowledge of music to other areas such as composing and arranging. He has given me quite a few opportunities to work professionally. He invited me to play on his upcoming record, 'Collage,' which was great experience,” Roehm said. “Rob cares about all of his students, and he is a great teacher and mentor.”
“Rob (Haffley) has taught me to expand my knowledge of music to other areas such as composing and arranging. He has given me quite a few opportunities to work professionally."
-- Ricky Roehm, Penn State Abington student
Haffley said Roehm is a great musician.
“Ricky has been able to put into practice many music business ideas we’ve spoken about. He knows the difference between the art of music and the business of music,” Haffley said. “I know he will be successful in both.”
John Pachence, lecturer of integrative arts and program coordinator for performing arts, is another mentor to Roehm.
“John Pachence is a one-of-a-kind teacher. His lectures are so engaging, and he makes everyone feel a part of the discussion,” Roehm said. “He is showing me ways to do a little more in the music industry today. John, like Rob, is also very encouraging to me and his other students, and he wants us to push ourselves to our limits.”
Another benefit to the integrative arts major for Roehm? Exposing him to jazz. When he was in high school, he was more focused on classical music, but at Abington, he played nothing but jazz for his first two years, and now he can’t stop listening to it.
“I have become more open and accepting that there is enjoyment in every genre of music whether it’s classical, jazz, rock, funk or Latin.”
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 21 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics and more.