Mr. Nathan (“J”) Johnston


Viewed as a creative leader and thinker, Nathan Johnston demonstrates the ability to bring forth invested artistic expressions from both novice and accomplished members alike. He focuses on the opportunities for “creative education”, blending traditional and progressive approaches in the same classroom or community space.

Johnston is currently the Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Bands at Eastmark HS (Queen Creek, AZ). Previously, he was the Coordinator of Fine Arts & PE for SUSD (Scottsdale, AZ), the Director of Bands at Basha High School (Chandler, AZ), the Music Director for Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Chamber Winds and Symphonic Winds (Phoenix, AZ), and the Assistant Director of Instrumental Music at Mesa Community College (Mesa, AZ). 

As a contemporary educator, Johnston champions the integration of modern technology and mobile applications to enhance individual and community musicking opportunities. Striving to emphasize that diligent practice and hard work can be relevant and rewarding, Johnston remains cognizant of emerging educational techniques, keeping the creating and sharing process engaging for all participants.

As a musician, Johnston refined his storytelling through study with Sam Pilafian, Deanna Swaboda, David Pack, John Manning, and Richard Good. With conducting mentorships under Gary Hill, Robert Fleming, Richard Good, and Johnnie Vinson, Johnston has developed a diverse approach on the podium. His versatility as a musician and communicator are demonstrated at each performance and invites others to explore the possibility of expression through music.

Johnston is a regular guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in all areas of music. He is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Collegiate Music Society (CMS), Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA), National Band Association (NBA), and the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA). He previously served as the Vice-President of High School Band Activities for ABODA and the Arizona State Chair for the NBA. As a seasoned music educator, Johnston is a frequent adjudicator for marching, concert, solo & ensemble, and honor festivals.

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