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.

Guitar & Trumpet with Mike

Mike Jones teaches guitar, trumpet, bass, ukulele, as well as songwriting and recording. A native of Minnesota, he started performing at age 7 in the Metropolitan Boys Choir in Minneapolis, with highlights including featured soloist at the Fiesta Bowl Parade, college jazz soloist at Wartburg, as well as frontman/songwriter in original alt rock bands. Teaching full time, he likes to show students how passion and joy for music can be focused to achieve results while having fun.

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.

Guitar with Ron

Ron Conkin started playing the guitar at age 8 in his family's music store in Missouri. He has toured with many groups and performed a variety of musical styles ranging from rock to country and everything in between. He also has many years of teaching experience and enjoys guiding new students or honing the skills of  developed players. Ron plays locally in the band Copperhead Creek: www.thecopperheadcreekband.com

Voice & Piano with Anna


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


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

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


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


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


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

Cameron Welke Pic.jpg

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

Dr David A Johnson pic.jpg

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

Emelyn Pic.png

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


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

Mike Jones Pic.jpg

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.

Piano with Sebastian

Sebastian New Profile.jpg

Sebastian received his Bachelor of Arts in Concert Piano while attending Moscow State Conservatory in Russia. He has performed as a chamber musician worldwide. Sebastian is also a prolific composer and has created original compositions for international films. He has taught piano with the Venezuela National Youth Orchestra, as well as, Universidad de Los Andes.

Flute & Piano with Laura

Laura J Canelo Cohen Dare to Discover.jpeg

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.