Jack Barben grew up playing music. He began piano lessons at the age of five and trombone in fifth grade. In high school, he taught himself guitar and started a band, led music in his youth group, church, and in large summer camps. His senior year he won a two year scholarship on trombone at a national competition. Jack’s first teaching experience was as assistant junior high band director and pep band assistant director his senior year in high school. He attended college at Cedarville University where he studied trombone, voice, and piano.  He studied trombone, piano, and voice at the Aspen music festival for two summers.  He studied piano in New York City with John Naumann and spent one year at the Peabody Conservatory studying piano with the esteemed Julian Martin. In addition to his classical training, Jack has studied hindustani classical voice and West African drumming, and plays a variety of other instruments including organ, bansuri flute, euphonium, drum set, and hammered dulcimer. He plays in a variety of genres, has recorded an original album of his own compositions, and is an avid improviser.

Jack has been teaching for over 25 years and has developed a way of teaching that draws out the latent musicality of students, inspiring them to discover and explore the music that is naturally within them.  His primary inspiration for education comes from the work of Victor Wooten and Joe Craven, both of whom he has spent time with and learned from, as well as the many teachers he has had the good fortune to learn from throughout his life.  His innovative music education projects include the Island Beat Music Nature camp on Mercer Island, WA which he created and directed for three summers and the Creative Kids Music Project in Renton, WA which he created and directed.  He currently is music director at the Church of the Resurrection in Pleasant Hill, CA where he is in the process of introducing Circle Singing, a type of improvised singing developed by Bobby McFerrin. He teaches private students in the East Bay, all of whom learn to bring out the musician within, on a variety of instruments, singing, playing the piano, drums, dulcimer, xylophone, drums, and whatever else happens to be on hand!