Jim Heller grew up in San Diego where he matriculated to San Diego State University after graduating from high school. Though a piano major, he also played saxophone and clarinet in various university ensembles and sang in choral groups. Ultimately, his passion for teaching led him to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education.
Later moving to San Bernardino County, he completed requirements for a California Teaching Credential at California State University San Bernardino and embarked on a 24 year career teaching music in public schools. During his career, Jim also found time to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting from Southern Oregon University that served him well in his profession.
After retiring, he and his wife Helen relocated to Reno where he continues to teach and perform as a pianist, instrumentalist and vocalist. He has been a member of the Reno Wind Symphony since 2012, and also plays in the Reno Municipal Band.