James Ruggles was born in 1966 in Tulsa, OK to a musical family. His brothers and sisters had all studied music and played instruments throughout their childhood and high school. His father was an instrumental music teacher and taught them all to play. His mother was a church organist. James was a choir boy at his church and learned some piano before his father offered to teach him violin, which led to James eventually having opportunities in orchestras, as a soloist and performing chamber music. He later studied with teachers such as Peter Marsh, Marc Gottlieb and Maurice Sklar.
When James was growing up he enjoyed walks in the woods, camping, fishing and hunting. His father's parents were farmers that would take James to Southern Oklahoma to their farm.
At home he was quite active in his church youth group, especially in high school and college. Movies and video became a hobby.
James started teaching violin right out of high school and joined the music union, which landed him some steady gigs. He played in summer music festivals during his college years. For side work one summer he drove an ice cream truck and was a sacker at a couple of local grocery stores for a year or two.
He took lessons on tuning piano from Charles Brown, and with scholarships and support from home, earned his Masters Degree in music, in Seattle, Washington. He also supported himself with side jobs like tuning, teaching and janitorial work.
A few years after college he rejoined his previous professional orchestras, and a few others as concertmaster. On top of his work with area orchestras, James now also teaches violin to over 20 students full time.