Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Courtney Z. Johnson

My name is Ms. Courtney Z.  Johnson and I am the Orchestra/String teacher at Joseph C. Wilson Commencement Magnet High School .  I am really excited to meet you all and get our lessons and ensembles started. 

A little bit about me….This year, I celebrate the beginning of my 20th year of public school teaching and 27th year of private teaching.  My career began as a violin student in the Victor Central School District.  I participated in school and private lessons as well as various ensembles.  While in middle school, I briefly attended the Hochstein School of Music before being accepted into a studio at the Eastman School of Music where I attended college classes while still in high school.  I have had the honor of playing in All County (concertmaster), Area All State and All State as well as the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (principal 2nd violin) and the New York State Summer School of the Arts with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  I started playing cello in 9th grade. 

After many auditions and weighing my options, I decided to leave the Eastman School of Music to attend Ithaca College.  There, I pursued a double major in Music Education and Music Performance with a concentration in violin and a minor in cello performance.  This is where, by accident, I discovered my love for playing viola!  My viola skills took me to the Meadowmount School of Music which, in turn, gave me the opportunity to meet many wonderful teachers and fellow musicians.  I was awarded a full scholarship to The University of Akron to pursue a Master of Arts degree in viola performance.

I began my teaching career at age 16 in Victor teaching younger beginning violin students in the Victor and Canandaigua areas.  My public school teaching began in Akron, OH in 1996 teaching strings grades 4-12 in seven schools as well as general music and choir and lasted for 10 years before moving back home to NY.  I have been with the Rochester City School District since 2006 teaching strings grades 4-12, middle and high school general music, piano, music history and music theory.  Schools I have taught at include School #3, 5, 23, All City, East, NECP, Northstar, NWCP, SOTA, and Wilson Foundation and Commencement.  I am a lead teacher with RCSD as well as write music curriculum and facilitate professional development to my fellow RCSD teachers.  I also maintain a private string and piano studio throughout the school year. 

While I love music and teaching, I also have a personal life!  I have one daughter who is my pride and joy and is growing up way too fast.  She keeps me busy with her competitive swim team and horseback riding training.  When my teaching day is done, you can often find us at the pool for swim practice and meets or at the barn caring for the three horses we adopted and all of the chores that go with them!  We also have 2 cats and a dog.  I love 80s music and movies.

Throughout the school year, I will challenge you personally with technique, repertoire and knowledge to help you to become the best musician and appreciator of music you can be.