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Joel Zigman (he/him/his) is a composer, musician, educator, journalist, and activist. He is currently a co-owner and teacher at Deeply Rooted Music School


His accomplishments include:


  • Professionally licensed K-12 music teacher in the state of Colorado. 

  • General K-6th elementary music teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools for two years.

  • Former music teacher at Girls Rock Austin, the University of Texas at Austin Youth String Project, LREI, and Creative Action. 

  • Level 1 Certification in Kodaly, Level 1 Training in Orff, and trained in Little Kids Rock and Responsive Classroom pedagogy. 

  • Master's degree in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin with a portfolio in “Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship” and undergraduate degrees in English and Music Composition from Rice University.

  • Multi-instrumentalist with six years of electronic and contemporary classical composition training, eight years of classical piano training, and three years of community choral performance experience.

  • Announcer and programmer for several college and classical radio stations in Texas including KTRU, KVRX, KMFA, and Classical 91.7.


Joel Zigman is a passionate advocate for human rights and social justice. He was the founding chair of the Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) LGBTQ+ Caucus, a founding member of the CEA LGBTQ+ Caucus, and received the 2019 JCEA Lion Award. He was formerly on the board of Girls Rock Austin.


As a Jewish, transgender educator, he is working to make Colorado schools a safer space for transgender staff and students. He was a co-founding chair of the Colorado Transgender and Nonbinary Educators Network, and an author of the “How to Be a Good Ally: Creating Safer Spaces in New Music” zine created for the 2016 New Music Gathering.


Originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, Joel Zigman lives and works in Denver, Colorado.


In the News


Publications /  Presentations

Denver Metro GSA Leadership Summit, Denver, CO 2019

     “Showing Up for Trans Educators” with the Colorado Trans/Nonbinary Educators Network

LGBTQ-Inclusive Educational Practices Institute, Boulder, CO 2019

     “Out of the Margins: Supporting and Learning from Trans Educators” with the Colorado Trans/Nonbinary Educators Network

Colorado Educators Association (CEA) Summer Leadership Conference, Breckenridge, CO 2019

     “Lifting Up LGBTQ+ Educator Voices” with the JCEA LGBTQ+ Caucus

International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US, Calgary, Canada 2016

     “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboi: Building (trans)Masculinity Through Top 40 Country Music”


New Music Gathering, Baltimore, MA, 2016

     “Outsider and Ally – How Can We All Be Better?” panelist


Girls Rock Camp Alliance, Elmer, NJ, 2016

     “Next Level Music Writing Workshop: Incorporating composition, orchestration, music theory, and music notation into our teaching”

Texas Music Educators Association, San Antonio, TX 2015

     “Gender Inequality in Music Composition: A Case Study of Instrumental Music Repertoire at UT-Austin and TMEA” poster


Semiotic Society of America, Pittsburgh, PA, 2015

     “Collective Agency and Embodied Feminine Spirituality in Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor, op. 11: andante espressivo”