Our teachers understand the goal is not perfection, but to have fun while learning music.

Our philosophy at music4life stresses the importance of having fun while learning. The key to lifelong music making is to foster passionate students. Our instructors understand that every student, regardless of age, learns at a different pace and in different ways. We know that everyone comes from a different family, has different brain functions, and unique strengths and weaknesses. Come and experience the joy of learning, playing, and performing your favorite music today!

Our Teachers:

Drums with Eric

Eric "EG" Madison has more than 20 years of experience teaching all ages of students. He studied jazz at the University of Iowa and has played professionally for many different groups, including jazz, blues, funk, R&B, and country bands.

Double Bass & Bass Guitar with Blake

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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. In his main group, The Blake Shaw Quintet, he not only showcases his original compositions but adds a mix of jazz influenced arrangements. Many of these elements are used in creating the music for his 12 piece Big-ish Band as well. Frequently you can catch him playing solo gigs utilizing live-made loops and effects pedals while playing bass lines and chords up high on his electric bass simultaneously. For more info and things to listen to find Blake on Instagram @theeblakebass or @blakeshawbass on FB.

Piano & Guitar with Marek

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.

Voice & Piano with Anna

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Anna Koogler graduated from the University of Hartford in 2017, majoring in vocal performance and music education. She taught voice and piano for three years before moving to Iowa City, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.

Piano, Ukuele, & French Horn with Sarah

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Sarah Baldus holds an active Iowa Teaching License with K-12 Music endorsements. She graduated with a BA degree in music education from Iowa State University in 2009. She began teaching instrumental music in Iowa Schools in 2010. She is a firm believer in putting the “fun” into every students’ musical education. As a professional musician, Sarah has performed with small ensembles, bands, and orchestras throughout the state of Iowa, as well as, touring Europe with the ISU Wind Ensemble.

Piano with Marvel

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Marvel graduated from William Penn University with a double major in Music Education and Human Relations and a minor in Psychology. She has over 40 years of teaching experience and loves working with beginning piano students. Her teaching style emphasizes the positive and keeps the learning process fun.

Cello & Piano with Zoraida

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Zoraida Oyola Rebaza is an avid artist and teacher, often performing with regional orchestras.. Originally from Peru, Ms. Oyola Rebaza came to Iowa to study music at the University of Iowa and graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. She served as the violon/cello teaching assistant and leader of the University Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.

Piano with Reid

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Reid has extensive piano performance experience in classical, jazz, latin jazz, rock/alternative, accompaniment roles, and more. With a background of percussion performance and composing music for indie video game projects, Reid possesses a unique rhythmic improvisational style and creative flair. He graduated with degrees in Musical Arts and Economics from the University of South Dakota in 2013, then obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa in 2018.

Violin & Viola with Tony

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Tony Chang is a dedicated violin performer and educator with over 28 years of experience. He studied violin performance at Indiana University. He has taught violin and conducting at Central College and Simpson College, performed with orchestras in the US and Japan, and maintains an active private studio. He is accepting violin and viola students of all ages and skill levels. He uses both Suzuki and Traditional Orchestral methods to bring out strong skills of musicianship with his students.

Advanced Guitar with Cameron

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Cameron specializes in classical and finger style guitar. He began his musical life as a classical violinist and a rock and jazz guitarist, and currently performs actively as a lute player. He holds a B.M. in classical guitar performance from Belmont University and a M.M. in historical performance on lute and theorbo from the Peabody Conservatory.

Drums & Guitar with David

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David is pleased to be joining the Music4Life team.  He 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).

Piano with Emelyn

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Emelyn is a native of Cebu, Philippines,  where music is part of our culture.  She has previous musical training from her time in the Philippines on ukelele and guitar. While living in Iowa she has continued her music education on piano at Music4life for almost 7 years. She is excited to now be part of the team of teachers! She works very well with young, beginner piano students. Emelyn has also volunteered for 3 years playing at UIHC with the Music Therapy team  in the cancer unit.

Piano with Bao

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Originally from Vietnam, Bao Dragoiu is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a BA in Piano Performance, and of The Music Conservatory in Saigon, Vietnam. She specializes in classical and sacred music. With 13 years of teaching experience, Bao is passionate about helping students of all ages discover the beauty of music. Her teaching philosophy seeks to provide a creative environment in which students can reach their full artistic potential while enjoying the learning process. 

Guitar with Dr. Mike Jones

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Mike 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.

Flute & Piano with Laura

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Originally from the Dominican Republic, Laura Canelo Cohen, began her musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music of Santo Domingo. Ms. Canelo Cohen graduated with honors from Columbus State University where she obtained a Bachelor degree in music performance, and holds a Masters in Contemporary Music from the University of Valencia. She obtained her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Flute Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa with a focus in Orchestral Conducting and Jazz Studies. 

Voice with Alice

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Alice Feldmann received her Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa where she studied voice and piano. After graduating she taught for 23 years in public schools directing: Choirs, Show Choirs, and over 15 musical productions. In the last 15 years Alice has taught private voice and piano lessons. She enjoys performing styles from Rock & Roll to Musicals to Jazz.