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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

B.A. Northwestern University.

John Atteberry
Vocal & Instrumental Music
Concert Hall Director

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

Rebecca Cutler
Lower, Middle, & Upper School Strings

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 $40 per hour, $30 for a 45-minute, and $20 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, violin/viola, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Pittsburg State University and a Master of Degree in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University. Her primary teachers have been Ben Sayevich, Sarah Gentry, Selim Giray, (violin), Glenn Block, and Craig Fuchs (conducting). Miss Cutler has been a private violin and viola instructor for more than 10 years and taught previously at Missouri Southern State University where she directed the Suzuki Violin Academy and taught applied strings and string techniques. She has happily been at Thomas Jefferson IDS since 2012 teaching LS/MS/US Strings. Miss Cutler also performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville as well as other regional orchestras.


Levi Randolph

Levi Randolph directs the saxophone studio and saxophone chamber ensembles at Missouri Southern State University, and teaches courses in music appreciation and world music. Levi earned his Master’s Degree in saxophone performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he studied with renowned saxophonist Tim Timmons. He is an in-demand woodwind freelance artist for numerous jazz and classical venues, weddings, concerts, operas, musicals, and chamber music events. After graduating from UMKC (he earned a B.A. in saxophone performance at MSSU before attending UKMC), he moved to Joplin and began a private studio, co-founded the quintet Jomo Jazz in 2013, and in 2014 established the MSSU Jazz Camp. Levi’s teaching style emphasizes creativity, critical thinking, and the development of one’s own individual style and sound. Students who study with Levi learn about their craft through discovery and are given the education and tools to become the innovative performers and teachers of tomorrow.


Chelsea Pfeifer

Chelsea Pfeifer is a graduate of Missouri Southern State University, Principal Violist in the Southern Symphony Orchestra, and manager of Golden Spectra string trio. A Texas native with 18 years of performance experience, she has been teaching in the Joplin area for 2 years now and aspires to see string students in the area increasingly active is private lessons. She has high hopes for all of her students to grow in an understanding and appreciation for music, regardless of their experience thus far.



“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.

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 strings, voice, woodwinds, and guitar 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.