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Meet our Guitar Teachers

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Dr. Mike Jones earned his PhD in music from the University of Iowa in 2009. Mike plays folk, rock, blues, jazz, and classical guitar. He has over 30 years experience teaching guitar and over 20 years experience teaching music theory at the college level. Mike has taught guitar, music theory, and music history at the University of Iowa, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Coe College, and Kirkwood Community College. He has played at area hospitals, weddings, and other events. He has performed in classical guitar masterclasses for David Russell and Manuel Barreuco and currently serves as the President of the Iowa City Classical Guitar Society. Mike’s love and enthusiasm for music shows in everything he does and he passes these to his students.

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Iowa City resident, double & electric bassist, vocalist, composer/arranger, band leader, and teacher Blake Shaw brings a wide variety of inspiration and experience to the table. After receiving both his Bachelor of Music in classical double bass performance (‘13) and Master of Arts in Jazz (‘17) degrees at the University of Iowa he continued his quest of playing any and all kinds of music. Being an ambitious and hungry bassist as well as having a heavy background in jazz studies has helped him navigate through many different genres of music and work with a wide variety of artists. This has given him the opportunity to play at various festivals, cruise ships, clinics, masterclasses, concert halls, and venues all across the US and even as far as Australia. 

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David Johnson holds three degrees in music education with 30+ years teaching at the college-university level as well as teaching middle and high school instrumental music.  He enjoys seeing students at all levels enjoy and learn.   Recently retired and living in the IC area he teaches percussion (including drum set) and guitar (including rock, blues and jazz along with a dab of theory).

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Marek Szmyrgala gives piano and guitar lessons. Originally from Poland, Marek graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He then moved to Boston and worked with music and business before moving to Iowa to open the Music4life studio.

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Ethan Dix, from Cedar Rapids, is a graduate of The School for Music Vocations (SMV) where he studied piano, bass, voice, arranging, and songwriting. During his tenure at the SMV, he won two Downbeat awards as an instrumentalist and songwriter, frequently performed with the faculty rhythm section as a choral accompanist, jazz pianist, and singer. Ethan has taught at the SMV vocal jazz camp where he led community songwriting
workshops with high school singers, in addition to being a private piano and theory tutor. Ethan’s journey with music has been very exploratory and he believes that there is not one set path for success. If it brings you joy, you’re doing it right.

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