Originally from Southern Illinois, Jennifer Harkey has been playing the piano since she was four years old, playing the organ since she was 12, and singing for nearly all of her life. Jen's family has always been very musical--she and all three of her sisters, plus her mom and dad, sang in the church choir while she and her sisters were growing up and Jen began to play the organ for Mass when she was only about 12 years old. Jen graduated cum laude from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education (double major in voice and piano.) After graduation, she immediately began teaching full-time at Parkway West Middle School in Chesterfield, MO. Jen and her husband, Jay, lived in the historic Central West End in St. Louis for five years while she taught. For nearly all her life, she has sung with, played for, and directed church choirs. Jen has worked at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows as a cantor and pianist, and was a cantor and soprano section leader at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for 6 years. She has toured Europe twice with the St. Louis Archdiocesan Choir as soprano section leader. She was on the voice and piano faculty of the Cathedral's Academy of Music, and for two years she was the Director of Youth Music at Eden UCC in Edwardsville. For five years she sang with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, St. Louis's premier a'capella choir. Jen is currently singing at St. Margaret of Scotland parish in South St. Louis.
From 2000-2005, Jennifer taught vocal music and orchestra at Parkway West Middle School in Chesterfield, MO. During her tenure at PWMS, Jen musically directed and did scenic design for the annual musicals, directed at least 10 concerts per year, was invited to have her choirs perform at the 2004 Missouri Music Educators Convention, and came to love the middle school aged child. Her years in the public school system were valuable experience but when her classroom was packed with up to 50 students at a time, it was difficult to really get to know students and build quality relationships. With nearly 20 years of private teaching experience, Jen is thrilled to be able to teach private lessons full time as individual instruction is her first love. Jen is the 2008 recipient of the National Federation of Music Club's Ouida Keck Award for the Independent Piano Teacher.
Jen has been Illinois and Missouri State Teacher Certified and is certified in "Protecting God's Children" by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. She is a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs and she is currently the Vice President and Adjudicating Chair ofMFMC District, IV's Virtuoso Club.
When she's not teaching music or performing, Jen can often be found in the kitchen cooking or baking. She and her family love living in the woods and spend a great deal of time outdoors gardening, hiking, and cycling and they love to travel. One of her great loves is photography--you can see some of the photos she has taken throughout this website and all around her house and studio.
Jen and her husband, Jay, are available to sing and play for weddings and special occasions. They can offer piano, organ, voice, and trumpet. Please call or drop them an e-mail to see how their music can enhance your special event
Jay brings to The Green Room over 25 years of experience in multiple aspects of the music profession as a high school vocal and instrumental teacher and as a vocal and instrumental performer. He is a multi-instrumentalist with a collection of instruments that may boggle your mind. Jay is our primary virtual teacher and teaches guitar, trumpet, voice, piano, music theory, sight-reading, sight-singing, and ukulele. . .though if you have another instrument you are wanting to explore, he probably has one and can teach you how to play it. Jay's undergraduate degree is in K-12 vocal and instrumental music education and he holds a master's degree in orchestral conducting. Music has taken Jay across the country and to Austria, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Scotland; it has even taken him to Carnegie Hall a couple of times! Jay has been a bass-baritone section leader in the St. Louis Louis Symphony Chorus and with various other choirs in and around St. Louis. Jay is currently principal trumpet of the Edwardsville Community Symphony and he has played trumpet in many different groups in many different styles in and around town.
Jay has a passion for teaching individualized lessons and loves getting to work with students of all ages. Throughout his time as a church musician, he has always loved helping adults reach their goals as musicians and he is excited to be able to pursue teaching adults full-time! Jay's studio strives for a focused yet relaxed atmosphere, one in which the students are able to thrive and develop new musical skills quickly in a friendly and comfortable environment. Jay puts a strong emphasis on the fundamentals, but he reminds students often that it is called *playing* music for a reason. Since Jay has made music and taught music in all sorts of situations from school and community to professional groups, he is able to help students wherever they currently are on their musical journey. Jay holds an active Illinois State Teaching License and is certified in Protecting God's Children.
When Jay isn't teaching or performing music you can often find him near a body of water casting a line to catch fish that he loves to bring home and fry up for his family. He enjoys hiking, cycling, grilling, and travelling. Most importantly, Jen and Jay are the parents of two wonderful daughters, Gwen Elizabeth & Eliana Clare, and they love that their careers of teaching music privately allows them to balance their family and work lives.