Teachers at the Old Town School

Elisabeth Johnson

Elisabeth began teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music in 2016 after relocated to Chicago from a 4 year adventure in Oakland, California where she was the creator and proprietor of a small music school, Mynah Music. Elisabeth was born in São Paulo, Brazil and grew up in Chicago, where she has a long history of teaching and performing. She formerly ran her own home studio, Miss Elisabeth’s Violin Studio in Logan Square, as well as held the position of Teaching Artist and Director of Violin/Viola for the Comunidad de Alegre program for the El Valor Community Center in Pilsen and for Chicago Academy for Merit School of Music. Elisabeth returned to Merit School Music in 2017 implement a new Bridges cite in tandem with the Chicago Youth Centers Rebecca Crown Center on the South Shore.

A seasoned teaching artist, Elisabeth has also worked Radayeva Music Studio in the Bay Area, Suzuki Orff for Young Musicians (CHIME), Music Arts School (MIC), Gasse School of Music and Urban Gateways. Elisabeth received her teacher training in Suzuki Talent Education Program with Edward Kreitman and Every Child Can! with instructor Michele George. Elisabeth is a professional affiliate of the Music Teachers National Association, Suzuki Association of the Americas and the Society of Ethnomusicology.

Trained a classical violinist, Elisabeth studied with Mathias Tacke and Cyrus Farough. She earned her degree in Musicology at Roosevelt University College of the Performing Arts. Elisabeth is a chamber and orchestra musician as well as freelancer for hire for weddings and events as a soloist or with her group Filmstock Quartet. She also actively performs concert seasons with Renovo String Orchestra, Chicago Folks Operetta, and Rockford Symphony.

A seasoned member of Kurt Bjorling’s Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, Elisabeth is a 3 time scholarship recipient, one year fellowship to KlezKanada and 1 year scholarship recipient to KlezKamp. Elisabeth has studied, performed and toured nationally and internationally with renown ethnomusicologists and musicians worldwide in Yiddish, Eastern European and Balkan music traditions. A continual love and dedication to world music has also fueled her continual study, work on transcriptions, arrangements and performances of many other violin/fiddle folk traditions including Mosaic, a Middle Eastern Ensemble, Elas 2000, a Greek wedding band and her own Brazilian Choro Ensemble, Solaranja.

Along with being a versatile performer, Elisabeth has sat in as guest artist with, and recorded with many talented Chicago based folk musicians and singer-songwriters. As a recording artist, she offers her consultation and services composing violin parts, string arrangements, orchestrations and lays down tracks for local bands. She also is a singer/songwriter and folk musician in her own right and is currently working on a forthcoming album with her project, Lizzy and the Zoetropes.

Other career pursuits include TEFL Institute training, teaching and tutoring in ESL. Elisabeth is also freelance writer and author of poetry and short stories. When she's not music making or scribing, Elisabeth can be found cuddling with her cat Ziggy, contemplating the universe on her back porch, or hitting a yoga class. She likes to make soup, is always reading a book, musing new poem or tune. Otherwise you can find her lugging her keyboard, violin and guitar off to her next gig.

Elisabeth supports children’s musicianship through improvisation, composition, creative expression, and part-playing. Elisabeth strives to create a playful and holistic musical environment via exploring sound, singing, clapping, eurythmics, percussion, instrumental technique, music theory, ear training, and ensemble; to guide children's perspective to the importance and relationships between music, art and other scholastic and humanitarian disciplines; and to awaken a joy and appreciation for all music!

Trilingual: Spanish, Portuguese

Started at the Old Town School in April of 2016

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