Phyllis has been teaching music lessons since the age of 14. Many of her private studio students have gone on to professional careers and major universities. She enjoys teaching harp students of all ages focusing on the Grandjany harp method. All levels of harpists are welcome via in person (with mask), ZOOM, SKYPE or FACETIME!
Phyllis is currently the Harp Instructor at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY and Nashville State Community College. She has previously taught at Austin Peay State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Some of her performances in orchestra include the Knoxville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Memphis Symphony, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony. She is past President of the Nashville Harp Society (2008-2014) and is currently the Southern Regional Director of the American Harp Society (2011- 2017).
Phyllis has worked as both a solo artist and accompanist for many notable artists such as Josh Groban, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Johnny Mathis, Martina McBride, CeCe Winans, Donna Summer, Dennis DeYoung, Trey Anastasio and Kip Winger, just to name a few. Her recordings have received airplay on radio stations around the USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, and Asia. She currently is Principal Harpist with the Nashville String Machine Recording Orchestra, Carl Gorodetsky, contractor.
She has performed on numerous studio recordings, movie soundtracks and in concert performances for a variety of gospel, pop, and classical artists. Her TPAC performances include My Fair Lady, The Producers, Camelot, Dream, The King & I, South Pacific, and Christmas Carol. Ms. Sparks played with the Nashville Symphony on their first East Coast Carnegie Hall Tour and for the Amy Grant Christmas Tour. Her tours with the Mantovani Orchestra covered the continental United States, Canada, Japan and Korea. MS Sparks has released 10 solo albums on Voyager Records, most recently “Harp Sparks – Celtic Dance” in July 2020.
“On a whim, I decided to learn the harp. Even though I had never had ANY music lessons and was well over 50 years old, Phyllis willingly took me on as a student. She is an excellent teacher with patient demeanor. I have learned so much more than I imagined I could. Phyllis knows just when to demand more and when to explain more. She is such an accomplished musician and to thin I am learning from one of the best! Very pleasant to be around. I look forward to our weekly lessons.” G Petty