Instructors & Staff


James Biehn

Teaches: guitar, bass guitar, music theory, Rock Band


                          James M. Biehn got his first taste of music when he began playing the trumpet at the age of 10. He picked up a guitar shortly after and by the age of 13 was a featured soloist in the school jazz band. He continued playing guitar at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Iowa where he won multiple soloist awards and helped the band win first place in the state competition two years in a row.

Continuing his musical studies at Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA, under the direction of Grammy-nominated department head Phil Mattson, James became proficient in music theory, jazz keyboard, and big band/vocal arranging.

Throughout his high school and college years, James balanced his schoolwork with the rigors of recording and performing with his first band, the McKenzies. The band released two albums, “A Collective Sigh of Relief” and “Cold in September,” which collectively sold more than 2,000 copies.

James has continued to play live as a solo performer as well as with bands such as the Nadas, the Jeff Banks Band, Hyde Park, and Soapbox Prophets. He is a first-call studio musician in Iowa and has contributed to albums by the Nadas, Bonne Finken, the Josh Davis Band as well as various commercial works. He has opened for countless national touring bands such as Blues Traveler, Sonny Landreth, Gov’t Mule, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, King’s X, and many more.

In 2005, James was the winner of Lazer 103.3’s “Guitar Battle,” which earned him the opportunity to play onstage with the band Tesla. For two years running he was the regional winner in Guitar Center’s King of the Blues guitar competition.

In addition to his musician experience, James owns and operates Central Iowa Music Lab, a music lesson studio in Des Moines, Iowa. He currently oversees 9 other instructors as well as almost 200 students. CIML teaches private lessons as well as Rock Band classes, getting students to work together as a team and learn the importance of making the whole thing sound good, not just individuals.

Besides his dedication to the local music scene and his many students, James is a devoted husband and father of five children.

Seth Hedquist

Teaches: Guitar, Music Theory, Rock Band, Jazz Combo


Seth and Crow


Seth Hedquist is a musician and historian living in Des Moines. He holds a masters degree in history from Iowa State University, and in 2016 received the Iowa History Center’s Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Iowa History award for his work, The Chronicles of Agrimusic. When he is not researching and writing he teaches guitar lessons to students of all ages and performs regularly. In recent years he has been the guitarist at the Des Moines Civic Center for Tony Award-winning Broadway singers such as Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, and Kristin Chenoweth, and for Beautiful: A Carol King Musical.


Anna Gebhardt

Teaches: Voice, Piano, Music Theory


Anna Gebhardt CIML Photo

(photo by Alyssa Leicht)

Anna Gebhardt graduated in 2012 from Drake University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Minor in English. Since then she has been working in the Des Moines area as a musician, teacher and freelance writer. In addition to writing, recording, producing and performing with her project Annalibera, she enjoys helping students reach their musical goals in a variety of styles, from the classical tradition to country, rock and pop music. Students in Anna’s studio are encouraged to read music as well as develop skills in their preferred direction, such as improvisation, technique, songwriting, musical tools and technology, etc.

Jenny Graham-Zimmerman

Teaches: Piano, Violin, Clarinet, Bassoon, misc.


Jenny Graham Zimmerman CIML photo

Jenny Graham Zimmerman is a musician, teacher and yogi who started teaching in Des Moines in 2000. Jenny fell in love with music as a child and learned to play piano, violin, flute, guitar, bassoon and many other instruments. At the request of a beloved teacher, she began teaching piano at age 12.

Jenny has performed solo and in ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras to jazz and marching bands, bluegrass and rock bands. Since earning her degree in music education from Drake University, she has taught music theory and creativity in various musical styles. She served as Director of the Des Moines Symphony Academy, completed yoga teacher training, and founded a Waldorf-inspired preschool. Jenny and her partner Dan enjoy spending time outdoors with their three sons.

Dustin Baird

Teaches: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Piano


Dustin Baird CIML photo

              Dustin Baird is a native of Creston, Iowa. He has been playing music professionally in one form or another for nearly a decade. These days he mostly plays as an acoustic cover artist around Iowa. He is the owner of Sumner Lesson Studios in Creston and also teaches music at Central Iowa Music Lab in Des Moines. Dustin and his wife Samantha have two sons named Ryder and Reid and enjoy spending time with them.


William J. Locker

Teaches: Drums


Will Locker CIML Photo

William J Locker is a musician/recording-artist based in Des Moines, Iowa. Mixing sounds of rock, blues, country, gospel and pop, his newest record REDHEAD is his own low-fi and fuzzy take on rock and roll. Catchy lyrics interacting with the contrasts of relationships, love, and life.

Locker grew up in a musical family, that played music through the house while his dad’s and brother’s bands were practicing in the basement. Raised on the Stones, Will developed a love for backbeat-driven songs before owning his first drum set at the age of fourteen.

He has toured the U.S. playing drums for many bands since the age of seventeen. During a recent hiatus he used his free time to write and record his first solo album titled REDHEAD, which he debuted live at SXSW in 2015.

Using a beat up Fender acoustic guitar, Will imagined and wrote the songs in his head as grandios rock anthems inspired by the music of his childhood. He played most of the instruments on the record, including drums, guitar, bass, and vocals. With the help of his brother, Jon Locker (The Nadas, Bonne Finken) and Neil Stoffregen, Will was able to jumpstart his Record at The Sonic Factory Recording Studio and had it mixed by Matt Sepanic (Slipknot), the album serves as a document of his musical journey from the back to the front of the stage.

William still spends most of his time on the drum seat, supplying vicious drum grooves with a number of bands and artists from the midwest. Amongst those artists is his wife, Nella Thomas.

When he is not playing shows, William teaches drum lessons and rock band classes at the Central Iowa Music Lab, while continuing to write and record future projects.


Joe Klinefelter

Teaches: guitar, music theory


Joe Klinefelter CIML photo

Joe Klinefelter is a freelance guitarist and vocalist from Norwalk, Iowa. Joe started playing guitar in 2006 and began taking lessons with CIML owner James Biehn in 2009. The following year, he began studying classical and jazz styles with Des Moines guitarist Seth Hedquist. Joe has also taken lessons from notable fingerstyle guitarists John Standefer, Stephen Bennett, and John Pell. After attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee as a music performance major, he returned to Des Moines in 2015. Since then, Joe has been a CIML instructor and performs as a solo artist providing music for senior living facilities, weddings, corporate events, and local churches.

Sara Routh

Teaches: voice, piano, guitar


Sara Routh CIML Photo

Sara Routh is a world-traveled, award-winning singer/songwriter who returned to Iowa in 2014. Since her return to her native land she has been involved as an instructor of voice, music and piano. She has also taken the position as Director of Programming for the program Girls Rock Des Moines, which empowers young self-identified girls ages 10-16 through the use of music, performance and songwriting.

Sara’s style of teaching… is student-led. She encourages the student to “drive their own car” with her guidance. A vocal student who wants to learn how to sing like a pop artist is not going to be enjoying a lesson learning Brahms. A forward thinker, Sara takes the students’ wishes and challenges them broadening their musical education in more than just one way.