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Born in Lafayette, Indiana, Liz has always used music as her method of communication.  From a young age, she would be caught at the piano after church, testing melodies on the keyboard that she could barely reach.  Her childhood in Muskegon, Michigan was filled with trips to the dunes, watching her dad on sailing races and spending time with her mom in her art studio.  Surrounded by the arts, Liz spent her time in fantastical musical worlds, occasionally sharing them with her brothers.

Her adolescence in Minneapolis, Minnesota opened many musical doorways.  Trips to Carnegie Hall with her high school chorus under Moses Hogan, tours through Europe with the orchestra and band and concerts throughout the United States showed Liz what a musical life entailed.  She was in love.  A brief health interruption of a brain tumor did not stop Liz from her love of music, in fact, it was her means of recovery after surgery and recuperation. Upon graduating from high school, Liz enrolled in Hope College with a music scholarship, with the intention of a BMU in music education.

Liz’s four years at Hope College in Holland, Michigan proved that a life of music would be a good fit for her.  Filling her undergraduate time with activities such as MENC (Music Educator’s Society), Delta Omicron (music fraternity), a capella groups, bands and orchestras, Liz had very little time for anything other than music.  Teaching flute lessons and studying for classroom music education, she felt prepared for any classroom upon graduation.

Graduating at the top of her class with National Dean’s List honors, Liz enrolled in The Juilliard School’s summer music program, “Missions on Music”.  Touring Eastern Europe in search of musical professions, Liz took the time to explore all options that her degree held for her.  She was convinced, upon entering the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest (Zoltan Kodaly’s first school) that teaching music would be her ultimate desire.  Liz enrolled in Kodaly certification through St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent her summer preparing for her first music position.

Liz spent two years at H.O.P.E. Academy (Hmong Open Partnership in Education) in rural St. Paul, Minnesota.  While the K-8 music teacher, Liz learned conversational Hmong and planned her own curriculum, incorporating techniques of Kodaly, Orff and National Standards for Music Education.  She also participated in the Hmong New Year program, created a bilingual musical to celebrate many cultures, and even dressed in traditional Hmong clothing for the annual parade through St. Paul.  Her time at H.O.P.E. solidified her love of teaching music.

A two-year move to Atlanta, Georgia brought Liz to fulfillment teaching her second hobby at the time, Swing Dance and Lindy Hop.  Her time with her husband down south brought health and excitement as they pursued a national teaching status as Lindy Hop instructors and competitors.  On their list of achievements, Liz and her husband joined a dance troupe that won regional and national competitions, the two of them placed in regional competitions and they grew comfortable teaching at all levels around the United States.  Their teaching philosophy of “fun first” has brought the love of the dance to many dance scenes.

Liz currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a home, a husband, an artistic daughter, giggly son and their crazy dog.  She teaches elementary music at Bel Air in Mounds View, MN.  Liz excitedly combines the methods of Orff, Kodaly, Dalcroze and her own passion for music education to the classroom.  She has served on the advisory council of education for MPR radio as well as the board of the Kodaly Chapter of Minnesota and currently works with the MN Orchestra Young People’s concert team.  In her summers, she loves teaching Materials and Folksong for Kodaly levels programs, such as Midwestern State (TX) and James Madison (VA).  Liz received her masters degree in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas, with an emphasis on Kodaly.

The best way to reach her is via email: elizabethr <dot> johnson <at> gmail <dot> com