Before moving to Oregon in 2012, Jessika grew up in Spokane, Washington and learned early on that music was going to be a vital part of her life going forward. She earned her bachelor’s degree in K-12 Music Education from Eastern Washington University while simultaneously performing and recording on saxophone regularly with the Bob Curnow Big Band, Latin band Milonga, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, and more.
Jessika and her partner Kyle moved to Eugene Oregon in order for her to earn her master‘s degree in Jazz Composition. As a teaching fellow at UO she had opportunities to continue teaching, and had the opportunity to perform abroad at the Montreux, Umbria, and Vienne Jazz Festivals. In 2015, Jessika released her first album of original compositions and arrangements for large jazz ensemble with the PJCE (Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble) record label.
From 2015-2019 Jessika taught K-8 general music and band in Eugene while also organizing and writing for the Eugene Composer’s Big Band and the Jessika Smith Big Band, and while writing and arranging for the PJCE, The Shedd Institute, and for personal commissions.
In 2019 Jessika accepted a position teaching in the Parkrose School District and relocated to Portland, Oregon. She currently teaches 6th-8th grade general music and band, and directs the Parkrose HS Jazz Band. Jessika firmly believes that music can change a child‘s life and that relevant and vibrant music education is an essential and vital part of all students’ education.