Music teacher, Justin “Spanky” Roman studied performing arts and music theory at SUNY Westchester and CUNY Lehman College. Spanky developed his skills on a variety of instruments including guitar, bass and tenor saxophone. While Spanky has fallen in love with the mountains of New Hampshire, Spanky was born and raised in the Bronx, NY, and the Bronks will always be at his foundational core. Spanky grew up surrounded by music where his father, Joseph “Papi” Roman, was a professional trumpet player and songwriter for Ray Barretto, a pioneer of the 1960’s/70’s Latin Jazz and Salsa scene that grew out of the Bronx and Spanish Harlem.
Spanky’s love for music was further fostered in New Hampshire where he learned to play the drums at summer camp and eventually began teaching drum clinics at age 15. It was around this time when Spanky’s love for music was matched by a love for music education. He began teaching private drums and Latin/African percussion lessons in the Bronx to students of all ages, while also performing and recording with bands throughout the New York City music scene. During and after college, Spanky taught music privately and in Bronx public schools, while also dedicating a lot of this time to non-profit after-school music programs.
Spanky is thrilled to have found his place with his Oliverian family where his love for wilderness and nature can pair with his love for music education. Spanky’s hobbies include sports (GO YANKEES!), mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, canoeing, target sports and diving into the history of his Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage, New York City, and of course, the local Pike and Piermont area.
What do you love most about working at Oliverian?
I love how I was instantly welcomed into such an amazing group of educators and great group of people. It is always refreshing to work alongside people that share similar goals and philosophies, while at the same time learning from all the amazing individual strengths of my peers and students. And this is all happening in one of the most beautiful settings in the world!
What motivates you to work with young people?
My passion is to influence others in a positive way. The art of teaching provides me with the most rewarding and amazing experiences. Paying forward all of the knowledge and experience I have gained so far is not only helpful for those I am teaching, but also the ultimate way to pay homage to and thank all of those that influence and motivate me.