Music and Work Background of Timothy Mark Hightower


I was born in San Jose and raised in Palo Alto, and have been living in San Jose since 1989. I took private piano lessons from Miss Helen Pfeiffer in Palo Alto California from the second grade for ten years with some significant breaks during the last years of high school, graduating from Cubberley in 1974. I also learned to play the trumpet at school starting around third or fourth grade and continued playing in band through eighth grade. I got introduced to Scott Joplin Ragtime piano music in 1974 and enjoyed playing and practicing it as a hobby and diversion so it played a large role in keeping me motivated to continue playing the piano on my own. I also played some popular movie and show tunes through the years and when my children were in elementary school I volunteered as a helper to the music teacher and I also ended up playing the piano accompaniment for some of the musicals that the school put on, the last ones being in the year 2001. Due to renewed interest in piano and music I started piano lessons again in December 2003 from Miss Esther Pfeiffer, the younger sister of Helen Pfeiffer, and continued this for a couple of years. I then got involved in other interests to the extent that I pretty much did not play the piano at all for about 13 years. In October 2017 my Auntie Ava encouraged me to started playing the piano again when she told me, “If I could play the piano, I would play it all the time.” So this led me to pick it up again and become a committed volunteer pianist, first playing at the assisted living place where my aunt was staying, Brookdale in Roseville, and then adding to that Kaiser Santa Clara Medical Center starting in April 2018.

I am currently playing a lot of Scott Joplin, the contemplative easy listening piano music of composer David Combs arranged by Gary Prim, short piano pieces in romantic style by William Gillock, a few pieces by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and starting to play some of the pieces by composer Francis Poulenc. I look forward to continuing to add more variety to the pieces that I play.


I retired from NASA Ames Research Center in 2015 after 25 years of federal government service. Chemical engineering degrees led to initial experience in chemical industry then to NASA including space life support systems for future long duration missions, hazardous materials management, arc jet testing of heat shield materials for spacecraft entry into planetary atmospheres, hyper velocity free flight aerodynamic testing of spacecraft and aircraft models in enclosed terrestrial ballistic range, facility water management including drinking water, storm water, industrial waste water, water conservation and reclamation, pollution prevention, above ground storage tanks, and climate change risk management. I also served in the Ames Federal Employees Union as secretary, deputy chief steward, and vice president for safety.


Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!