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©2019 by Sifford Music.

My musical journey began when I was 7. I’d walk to my teacher’s house a block away from my elementary school to take weekly lessons. The first piece I ever played was “To the Zoo,” the first solo in the piano method by Glover and Garrow. Music became a hobby of mine. I was lucky enough to have wonderful teachers and had the good fortune to participate in many musical activities in school. I sang in and accompanied the choir, played in jazz band, briefly attempted the violin, and eventually progressed to a point where I entered Missouri State University with a minor in music.

To make a long story short, my experience at Missouri State showed me that music was where I belonged. Finding another wonderful teacher in Logan Skelton, I continued to grow and pursued graduate study at Louisiana State University with Constance Carroll and the University of Michigan with Arthur Greene and Joanne Smith.

Having pursued music as strictly a hobby in my youth, I found myself becoming more and more interested in pedagogy, in bringing all the wonderful traditions of piano playing to younger generations and believing strongly in the place the piano still has in our culture. Through the piano, I’ve had many wonderful experiences – playing recitals alone and with friends, working with choirs and congregations in churches of all shapes and sizes, walking out on stage as a part of a symphony orchestra, performing in musical theater productions, and even the occasional jazz gig at various social gatherings. It’s important to me that others get the opportunity to have these experiences, too, so since 1995, I’ve been proud to think of myself primarily as a piano teacher.

I teach in many different ways. I’ve maintained a private studio for many years, taught in both university and public primary and secondary school settings, and I’ve written and lectured on a variety of educational topics. I’m also a composer and have published several pieces of music for piano students of all ages and levels.

Currently, I live in Iowa City where I teach a wonderful group of truly devoted students. I also spend time performing, often accompanying students at the University of Iowa and playing with many wonderful artists in the local community. To learn more about what I do, please visit the different sections of this site, or feel free to contact me directly. I’m always interested in new opportunities and making new friends.

Best,

JS