Erik Johnson

Contact Information


Office: UCA 314D

Role: Faculty

Position: Associate Professor of Music


Dr. Erik Johnson is an associate professor of Music Education and coordinator of Instrumental Music Education at Colorado State University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and is the director of the CSU Middle School Outreach Ensemble & Trying-on-Teaching programs.

As a music educator, Erik’s goals are to cultivate a sincere passion for artistry and music learning for students at all levels. Erik is a GRAMMY Scientific Research Award winner – an award that is shared with his colleague Dr. Blythe LaGasse and accompanied by a grant that supports research into how peer-assisted learning in music can help to improve social responsiveness for students with autism spectrum disorder. He is a CSU CLA Distinction in Community Outreach Awardwinner and recipient of the 2021 CSU CLA Distinction in Engaged Scholarship Award for his work focused on teacher education. In 2019 he was awarded the Ann Gill Faculty Development Award which is accompanied by a grant to fund research in teacher resiliency, longevity, and attrition in Colorado schools.

As a teacher, Erik has received three school board commendations, two 9-News Teacher Who Cares Awards, and a Colorado Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. As a conductor, clinician, and educational consultant, Erik has worked extensively throughout the United States and internationally in Japan, India, China, Spain, Ireland, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. He serves as the Artistic Director and Curator for SpaRk!, an annual immersive music festival serving patrons in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2009, Erik received first prize in the Hugh McMillan conducting competition and is a frequent music festival adjudicator and presenter at state, national and international music education conferences including presentations in Finland, Canada, Australia, Lithuania, Scotland, Spain, and China. He was a featured scholar in the documentary Carry the Tune (directed and produced by Paul Trapkus) which was awarded best documentary at the 2015 San Francisco Film Festival and was an Official Selection of the World Arts Film Festival.

Erik is a founding and current member of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras which was a recently featured group chosen to perform at the SHIFT festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Following the performance GBYO received the official designation from the Colorado Governor’s Office for “GBYO Day” (November 7) to honor the GBYO’s contributions to excellence for Colorado youth in the arts over the past 12 years.

His scholarly writings and research have been published in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, Contributions to Music Education, Journal of Education and Training Studies, The Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, and The International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education. His book A Guide to Student Teaching – written in collaboration with authors Dennis Fisher (Univ. of North Texas) and Lissa May (Indiana Univ.) – is available through GIA Publications. He holds a master’s degree in Wind Conducting and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Ph.D.- Music Education, University of Colorado Boulder; Master of Music (M.M.) - Wind Conducting, University of Colorado Boulder