Music Maestro: A Journey into the Melodic World of Professor Jamie Ousley

Sophia Baltodano | Contributing Writer

Professor Jamie Ousley, renowned bassist and music  professor at FIU opened up about his musical journey, creative processes, and his educational career. 

Professor Ousley’s career began at the tender age of five, when he first played the Star Wars theme on the violin, which sparked his passion for music. 

After taking violin lessons, Ousley began learning bass.  

When classical bassist Gary Karr visited his middle school, rolling in his million-dollar bass, Ousley decided he was determined to be a world-renowned bass player. 

Ousley’s creative process as a jazz musician revolves around improvisation and inspiration. 

“Listen louder than you play.” Ousley stresses. 

Ousley applies this philosophy to his creative process, emphasizing the importance of learning and listening to different genres when creating your own. 

 Ousley revealed his desire to collaborate with some of his own musical idols, including drummers Bill Stuart and Jeff Hamilton, and saxophonist Sonny Rollins

Reflecting on his experience teaching music at FIU, Ousley highlighted the diversity and enthusiasm of the students. 

He commended the cooperative and encouraging atmosphere, emphasizing the importance of a supportive environment for learning. 

Despite the challenges of learning music, he found FIU’s environment to be challenging yet not overbearing, creating a healthy space to learn and further musical education. 

Discussing the recent jazz festival at FIU that occurred this past weekend, Ousley shared details about upcoming events. 

He mentioned the next faculty concert featuring sax professor Gary Campbell, who is retiring this year, to have a special homage and thank you to a beloved music teacher of FIU. 

The festival includes five high school jazz bands that are invited to play on campus, followed by the official FIU band performing a huge breathtaking concert, ending with the faculty performing. 

However, there are some challenges, such as the audience’s diverse preferences. 

“They’re more into reggaeton and Bad Bunny.” Professor Ousley said. 

“Most people are into latin dance music these days, thus missing out on their chance to attend concerts of a different music genre such as jazz. The festival aims to showcase the beauty of jazz music.” 

Looking ahead, Ousley outlined his future plans, including recording his seventh CD, performing a couple gigs in New York, and playing at a jazz club in August– one of which is a famous jazz club called Dizzy

At first, becoming a teacher wasn’t part of his plans, but when presented with the opportunity after he finished his doctorate degree, he took it and has said he’s been happy ever since.

 Balancing his roles as an artist and professor, he expressed his commitment to continue teaching and passing on his knowledge to the next generation. He’s mentioned how glad he is to get all the perks of an artist since he gets to tour and record music as well as helping his students pursue music careers. 

Ousley shared valuable advice he received as a student—embracing humility and being open to trying new things. For jazz students, he emphasized the importance of studying music and actively listening to the genre, encouraging aspiring musicians to not shy away from exploration.

Ousley’s journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring musicians, highlighting the harmonious blend of passion, creativity, and education in the world of music. 

“It’s never too late to start,” Ousley reminds people who wish to follow their passion. 

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