SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

Meet Our Professors: Lawrence Johnson, Music

Starting out as a computer science major, Lawrence Johnson discovered that he didn’t have time for it on top of his  practicing for theater and musical performances. So he made the switch to follow his passion , and has n
ever looked back. He now loves teaching students how to perform and being able to see the end results of all of their practice and hard work.

Associate Professor of Voice


How long have you been working at SUU?  
12 years

Where did you grow up?  
Minneapolis and northern Wisconsin

Where did you attend college and what did you study?  
-Bachelor’s in Piano Performance at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
-Master’s in Voice Performance at Northwestern University
-Doctorate in Voice Performance at Northwestern University

Where did you work before coming to SUU?
I was privately teaching, performing, and was a church choir director/organist immediately before coming to SUU.  I was also in corporate America before that as a bank manager, but I always had my sights on a career in music.

When and how did you decide what you wanted your career to be?
I started out as a computer science major in college, but was doing music and theater gigs and classes on the side; when I reached my junior year I found that I didn't have enough time for both programming and practicing, and all my friends were in music and theater and I wasn't enjoying computer science.  So I made the switch and never looked back.

What do you feel is the most interesting thing about your field?  
One of the most interesting things about my field is working with so many different personalities — both faculty and students.  Teaching requires a fair amount of psychology because every student learns differently and responds differently to your teaching, so that keeps me very flexible and on my toes.

Favorite thing to teach about your subject?  
I do really love teaching foreign language diction for singers.  But also taking students' raw talent and polishing it to performance level is an exciting experience to be a part of.

Why do you love your field?  
Music is such an intricate part of our lives, and singing is an expression of ourselves.  Our bodies are literally our instruments, and every voice is unique. Helping people develop their "instrument" is extremely rewarding and there is great pride when a teacher sees their students grow and succeed.

What has been your proudest moment working at SUU?  
Music directing and conducting the orchestra for our recent production of Fiddler on the Roof was one of the shining moments; it was a great success and I felt the professionalism of the entire cast and orchestra rose to a level that far exceeded my expectations.

What is one thing you wish to tell every student in your class?
"It's not WHAT you say but HOW you say it!"

What do you love about SUU?  
Colleagues, campus, students...pretty much everything!