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Kirk Johnson's musical journey began in Boston, Massachusetts where he began taking violin lessons with Project STEP. Through this program, he learned to play the violin while also learning theory and ensemble playing. In middle school, Kirk switched to the viola and started to take music more seriously. He successfully auditioned for a local touring orchestra at the age of 15 and toured countries such as Italy, Mexico, and Cuba.
Kirk attended Indiana University and, in addition to performing, was introduced to the world of teaching. He studied pedagogy techniques with Mimi Zweig and worked with The Indiana University String Academy. Kirk received a great deal of experience working with students of all ages and performance levels.
Inspired by The String Academy and Mimi Zweig, Kirk founded S.O.U.N.D.S. (Students Opening Up New Doors with Strings). The organization was created to maintain the level of what musicians can be, but be more affordable for lower income families. It was a program that worked with elementary school students, and developed their character and musical ability through high school. S.O.U.N.D.S. continues to educate the children of Owen County as a successful non-profit organization.
After securing the future development of S.O.U.N.D.S., Kirk moved to Phoenix in order to resurrect a music program in the Roosevelt School District. His time in Phoenix provided the opportunity to connect his school with organizations that sought to improve the quality of music education in the public school system and his school developed into a musical and joyful campus.
Kirk went on to develop honor choirs and rock bands that performed throughout Phoenix. He then moved to Houston to do the same thing, but with an orchestra program at KIPP Sharpstown. With this program, he was able to develop the orchestra program into a performance group that went on to gain accomplishments such as receive a Level I rating at the “Pride of Texas Music Festival”, have 15 students accepted into the American Festival of the Arts, and went on to perform at National Conventions in Nashville, Tennessee.
Throughout all of his years working with schools and children, Kirk has kept a few private students to help them develop and learn the joys of music. His students have won numerous competitions and have learned to play in different genres including classical, jazz, rock, blue grass, and soul.
A NOTE FROM KIRK:
"I am a patient, honest, and versatile teacher. I let the student guide the pace of lessons as I lead the direction. I like to talk about expectations to make sure that we are always on the same page. If you wish to take lessons in order to learn how to play for fun, we can do that. If you would like to learn how to play specific songs, I can set you up for that. If you aspire to be first chair in your orchestra, or win a competition in your school our around you area, I can instruct you how to do so.
For solo players, I look to learn from the Suzuki Book series while inserting other concertos, pieces, and etudes that will help to develop your sound. Taking lessons with myself is equivalent to taking an airplane trip. At first, they check the wings, and weight of the plane while making sure that the gas for the plane and the food for the guests are prepared. Upon entering the run way for take off, the plane begins to pick up speed. It starts slow, but then pick up speeds up to 500 mph in order to reach your destination sooner. Lessons with me will be very similar, but not as expensive as a round trip airfare. :-) "
Violinist Brooke Prestwich has performed orchestral, chamber and solo musicthroughout the United States and Europe. She toured Europe with the Rocky Mountain Camerata in 2004, the Utah Philharmonia in 2006, and the KUGAMI Orchestra in 2011. She has participated in music festivals around the country, including the Eastern Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Madeline Island Music Festival, and Eutiner Festspiele. In 2004, Brooke won first place at the WSU ASTA Stringfest Competition. As a member of the Mount Olympus String Quartet Brooke participated in the University of Utah’s Chamber Music Outreach Program playing at schools throughout the Utah Valley.
Brooke completed her Bachelors of Music degree at the University of Utah studying with Hasse Borup. During her time at the university, she performed a variety of solo and chamber music repertory including the Bach Partita No. 2 in D Minor, Mozart Concerto No. 5 in A Major, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Bruch Concertos and quartets by Brahms and Shostakovich. In 2007, Brooke represented her community of musicians by serving as Senator of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. She graduated magna cum laude as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
Brooke received her Masters of Music degree in violin performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music as a scholarship student studying with Kenneth Goldsmith.