This week, we sat down with DIME’s Head of Vocals & MSU Denver at DIME Campus Manager, DeAnna Johnson! Don’t miss DeAnna and her students performance at our Night of Voice on Thursday, April 19th! For more information about that show, click here!
What inspired you to be a singer?
My mom and dad are both music lovers so music has always been a part of who I am. I’ve been singing since I was about 3 years old. My family has a video of me singing a Patti LaBelle song while sitting in my mom’s lap. I feel like I was born to do it. What really inspires me is hearing other great artists sing with passion and move people with their voice.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Again, this is also something that I started to gain interest in as a child. I’ve always had a passion for helping people and sharing what I know. When I started high school at the Detroit School of Arts (DSA), it ignited my passion for music even more which led me to continue my studies in undergraduate and graduate school, allowing me to pursue a full-time career in music education.
I was very fortunate to have music teachers who saw something in me that I did not see in myself. This is why I chose to become a music educator. I wanted to do the same thing for someone else.
What do you like about teaching at DIME, and working as Campus Manager for MSU Denver?
One of the biggest perks about teaching at DIME is the opportunity to teach students who are passionate about music, in a cool and relaxed atmosphere. The students here are amazing and they are the number one reason why I love coming to work! I’m excited to see what the future holds for all of them.
Being in the Campus Manager role has allowed me to get to know all of the students as opposed to just the vocal students. It has also given me a chance to use my experience as a performer and music educator to help shape the programs here at DIME.
What kind of growth have you seen in your students here?
Each student is different. I’ve seen students go from being shy and insecure to confident performers who are driven to succeed. I’ve seen students who are experienced performers sharpen their skills and discover new things about themselves. I’ve seen students step out of their comfort zone and try new things and transform into well rounded musicians. Being able to witness their growth is very rewarding.
What kind of things are you involved in outside of DIME that filter back into the classroom?
Prior to joining the DIME team, I taught elementary, middle and high school music for 9 years. I’ve worked with the Detroit Children’s Choir (DCC). I have performed in several productions with the Michigan Opera Theatre Chorus. I teach private voice lessons to students of all ages. Additionally, I am currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education at Oakland University.
What’s one of your proudest moments thus far as a teacher here at DIME?
It’s so hard to pick just one! Seeing the voice students be featured on the DIME album, placing first and second in National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Auditions, and performing at various venues around the community are just few great things that have happened this year. It just makes me proud to see their hard work paying off.
Anything else you want to add about your experience at DIME?
Working at DIME has been a unique experience. It’s been exciting to see how the school has grown, especially in the vocal department. Four years ago we had only had one vocalist, who has now graduated. We now have 22 students and 4 amazing faculty members who will all be performing in the Vocal Showcase next week! It will be quite an experience!