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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!

...We Play it, We Love it, We Have Fun with it!

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 & beginner Voice with Sevima


Sevima Dozo started playing piano when she was 7. Originally from Europe, she finished Elementary music school, Music High School and then she graduated from the Academy of Music with degree in Music Education in Sarajevo, Bosnia. After college she got married and moved to Iowa and she has been teaching piano last 5 years.  She believes that every kid has a unique perspective of music and her goal is to help them on their journey to find the beauty of piano melody!

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.

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.

Clarinet, Piano, & Voice with Hayley


Hayley Graham graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2015 with degrees in clarinet performance and public relations. She then went on to complete her master's degree in music therapy at the University of Iowa in 2017. Currently, Hayley is a board-certified music therapist who enjoys working with people of all ages and abilities. She has experience teaching and performing on a variety of instruments, including clarinet, voice, piano, and guitar. Hayley believes in creating space for joyful exploration and expression through music.

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.

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).

Drums with Curtis


Curtis Boysen graduated from Northwestern University . He actively  performs in local Jazz, Latin,  Funk, and Rock Bands. He also has experience touring.


He is passionate about establishing the academic foundation of drumming so students can excel. He sees his students having a great time learning and playing. He meets students where they are and adjusts his teaching style to fit their individual interests and desires. Curtis composes his own methods and materials for students for more individualized instruction.

Piano, Voice, & Oboe with Sam

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Sam Hoying has had a passion for music his entire life. He began playing piano, oboe, and singing Bass/Baritone at a very young age. Sam has years of experience teaching all three instruments and currently is a student at the University of Iowa. At the University, he is in involved in the Voice, Opera, and Oboe studio. Sam also arranges and is involved in the University’s Tenor Bass A cappella group. Sam is looking forward to helping others find joy through music.

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


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.

Piano with Aaron

Aaron Schultz is originally from Cedar Falls, but moved to North Liberty in 2005. Aaron has over 12 years of piano experience. In addition to piano, he also plays and teaches saxophone. He graduated from Liberty High School with achieving honors in music and is currently attending Kirkwood.

Voice with Caleb

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Caleb Haselhuhn is an active performer, educator, and music director in The Corridor. Caleb earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal and instrumental music (Magna Cum Laude) and his Master of Arts in music education degree from Truman State University in 2015 and 2016. After teaching high school music in Iowa for five years, Caleb sought further graduate study in voice performance at The University of Iowa, where he is currently completing the MA degree. He has been teaching music lessons for 13 years and enjoys teaching students of all ages and ability levels.  

Piano, Voice, Bass with Ethan

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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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