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Music study is an important part of TJ’s liberal arts program.

Concert Calendar

TJ Values Music Education

Thomas Jefferson believes music is critical to a well-rounded liberal arts program.

From building language and listening skills to developing self-esteem and confidence, music plays a key role in your child’s development.

Music education is part of the TJ curriculum starting in Pre-Kindergarten. Beginning in 3rd grade, in addition to regularly scheduled music classes, your child can participate in instrumental and/or vocal ensembles.

TJ also provides many opportunities for your child to participate in contests and concerts. The TJ Upper School Vocal Ensemble, for example, has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and students in band, orchestra, and vocal ensembles earn top ratings every year at state music festivals.

See the tabs below to learn more about music education at your child’s specific grade level.

Thomas Jefferson invites all TJ families and members of the community to attend our concerts and other events throughout the school year. The after-school TJ Music Academy is open to all students in the area, not just TJ students. We offer lessons in vocal performance as well as for several instruments.

All Upper School students may participate in instrumental and/or vocal ensembles.

The instrumental and vocal ensembles participate in contests and perform at concerts throughout the year at TJ and in the community.

Students in grades 9 through 12 may also participate in the Upper School Musical, which is a semester-long production of a major musical with public performances in the fall. Learn more.

Watch more TJ Performances

In Middle School, students may participate in instrumental and/or music ensembles.

Students who like to sing may also participate in vocal ensemble as an elective. The choir participates in contests and performs at concerts throughout the year at TJ and in the community.

In Middle School, students choose between orchestra and visual arts. Students may select from the following instruments: the following instruments:

  • Bass
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Flute
  • Horn
  • Percussion
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Viola
  • Violin


Students in grades 6 through 8 have the option to take the Musical Theater elective during which they prepare and rehearse for a major musical production in the spring. All Middle School students have a Dramatic Performance elective option.

Watch more TJ Performances

All students in grades 1 through 5 participate in general music classes. Beginning in 3rd grade, in addition to music class, students may also participate in instrumental and/or vocal ensembles.

Lower School choir is open to students in grade 3 through 5. The choir performs at Lower School concerts and other events in the community. Beginning in 3rd grade, students may begin lessons on the violin. In 4th or 5th grade, they may start or switch to viola, cello, or bass. Students who play these instruments participate in strings ensemble performances several times each year.

Beginning in 5th grade, students may begin a band instrument, including flute, clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, or percussion. Musicals for Lower School students are at various times throughout the school year and over the summer.

Concert Calendar

All students in Pre-K and Kindergarten participate in a music program that is a combination of vocal and instrumental instruction.

Concert Calendar


TJ Middle School students who participate in the Middle School musical


TJ Upper School students who perform in the orchestra and/or vocal ensemble


Full musical productions performed each year at TJ

Fine Arts

TJ’s Fine Arts program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and continues through your child’s senior year.

Learn more

Theatrical & Dramatic Performance

Through our vibrant Theatrical and Dramatic Performance program, your child has ample opportunities to perform onstage.

Learn more

Molly Williams
Director of Early Childhood & Lower School,
Middle School Music
[email protected]

B.A. Northwestern University.

John Atteberry
Vocal & Instrumental Music
Concert Hall Director
[email protected]

B.M. University of Missouri, M.M Rutgers University.

Rebecca Cutler
Lower, Middle, & Upper School Strings
[email protected]

B.A. Pittsburg State University, M.M Illinois State University.


Music academy students

The TJ Music Academy is an after-school program that offers private music instruction to the youth and adults of Joplin and the surrounding area. We offer lessons in strings, voice, woodwinds, and guitar that take place in our lovely facilities with our experienced faculty. Lessons rates are $44 per hour, $33 for a 45-minute, and $22 for a 30-minute lesson. Lessons are scheduled after school with the private instructor based on his or her availability. We offer many performance opportunities including recitals and music festivals, and we encourage a strong work ethic and a passion for music.

Registration is now open for the Fall Session of music lessons through the Academy. Once signed up, you and the instructor will work out the scheduling for those lessons as the time approaches.

Academy Staff

Rebecca Cutler

Rebecca Cutler-Metzger (Academy director) holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Pittsburg State University and a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University. She has been a private violin and viola instructor for more than 20 years and absolutely loves teaching children and adults of all ages and stages of life. Ms. Cutler-Metzger previously taught at Missouri Southern State University where she directed the Suzuki Violin Academy and taught applied strings and string techniques, but she has happily been at Thomas Jefferson since 2012 teaching LS/MS/US Strings and 3rd/4th grade general music. Ms. Cutler-Metzger also performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville as well as other regional orchestras and is also trained in the Suzuki Violin Method through Level 3. When not teaching or playing the violin, she can likely be found at the gym lifting weights, teaching yoga for kids, doing CrossFit with her husband, or at home playing with their 5 cats.


“Making Music Fun” is Miss Jana’s motto. Jana studied piano for 13 years with Joplin’s best and continued her education with a Julliard graduate during her years at MSSC. Jana loves working with children and has devoted over 35 years to teaching piano. She keeps students motivated with recitals, festivals, competitions and music contests. Many of her students have earned “Honorable, “1” and “Winner” ratings at local, state and national levels. Jana is an active member of JPTA, MMTA, MTNA, MFMC and NFMC. Jana would love to share her piano knowledge with your child so they too can learn to love music in their own special way.

Mariah Murphy

Mariah Murphy

Mariah Murphy began studying violin at three years old in Webb City, Missouri. A few years later, she started working with Chiafei Lin (Acting Assistant Concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony) as a part of the Heartland Music Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, until she graduated high school. From there, she received her bachelors in violin performance from Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music, under the tutelage of Grigory Kalinovsky. While there she had the opportunity to study musical pedagogy from Brenda Brenner and Mimi Zweig, which sparked her love for teaching violin to others. Ms. Murphy joined the Thomas Jefferson Music Academy faculty in 2022. She also enjoys teaching vocal lessons from her home and creating music covers and music videos in her spare time.

Dylan Gasche

Dylan Gasche

Dylan Gasche came to TJ in 2023 and teaches private lessons for all brass instruments. He obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Performance with an emphasis in low brass studies from Missouri Southern State University in the Spring of 2022. He also holds certificates in jazz studies, small ensemble performance, and conducting. During his time at MSSU, he held numerous leadership roles such as section leader, instrument and equipment manager, and Drum Major for the Lion Pride Marching Band (2018-2021). Mr. Gasche also works as a salesmen and apprenticing repair technician for Ernie Williamson Music.

TJ's Music Academy

The TJ Music Academy is an after-school program that offers private music instruction to the youth and adults of Joplin and the surrounding area. We offer lessons in piano, violin, viola, voice, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and French horn that take place in our lovely facilities with our experienced faculty.

Sign Up
TJ's Music Academy


Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School delivers a rigorous liberal arts college preparatory curriculum in a supportive and nurturing environment.