After watching his older sister play piano and perform, JohnWillard began taking piano lessons at age eight with Ms. Eleanor Morgan of Cape Coral, Florida with whom he studied for ten years. In high school, he also played trumpet and was active in marching band and wind ensemble. He has garnered multiple awards and honors, with scholarships from the Sanibel Music Festival and the Southwest Florida Symphony. He also participated in the National Federation of Music Clubs and the National Piano Playing Auditions Guild (American College of Musicians NGPT) receiving consecutive Superior ratings and three gold cups.
Inspired by a Reader’s Digest article of 1997 Van Cliburn piano competition gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu, JohnWillard knew that anything is possible with proper practice, hard work, and dedication. At age 15, he had his first orchestra appearance as a soloist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, he also appeared with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra of Lakeland.
At Florida Southern College he studied with Artist-in-Residence, Mr. Robert MacDonald. As a double major in Music Education and Piano Performance, he was active in the music department. He participated in Symphony Band, served as the accompanist for the Gospel Choir, was a member (now alumni) of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (a national men's music fraternity) and received the honor of being chosen as a Presser Scholar. He has participated in many masterclasses, and played for many teachers and concert pianists such as Yakov Kasman, Davide Cabassi, Renato Premezzi, and Paavali Jumppanen.
He holds a Bachelors degree of Music Education and plans to go on to Graduate School and earn a Masters degree in Piano Pedagogy/Piano Performance. Ultimately, he would like to be a music educator and continue to encourage students to be exposed to the arts. He is happy to share his love for music to others and inspire others to play.