Wartburg prepared my through obstacles, opportunities 

NAME:Annika Johnson      
HOMETOWN: Pine Island, Minnesota
|MAJORS: Music performance, music therapy

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: For my first three years of college, I was involved in Castle Singers. I am currently involved in Wartburg Student Music Therapy Association and the Wartburg Community Symphony. I also served as the head for Music Therapy Awareness week.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I choose Wartburg because the minute I set foot on campus my junior year of high school, I felt at home. Everyone was very welcoming and every professor I met with was encouraging. I knew they would help me achieve my goals. Another big reason I chose Wartburg was for the music therapy program.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: I originally came to Wartburg thinking I would only pursue a degree in music therapy. However, my orchestral experiences and lessons showed me how important the French horn was to me. I knew that French horn was an important part of my life that was worth investing more time in, which led me to add a music performance degree my second year at Wartburg.  

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: After graduating I will be completing a six month music therapy internship in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I hope to continue to perform and participate in orchestras, as well as teach lessons.

Annika Johnson

HOW DID WARTBURG PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: Wartburg prepared me through obstacles and opportunities. The obstacles I faced in my education showed me the value of never giving up and following your dreams. My professors were always there to listen and guide me. Without them, I would not be where I am. Given that Wartburg is a smaller school, I was provided with more performance opportunities than I would have been able to find at other schools. Each opportunity that came my way helped me learn more about myself and prepare me for the next step.  

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class was Perspectives in Music. This class stretched my knowledge of music and helped me gain new perspectives on not only the performance side of music but also the listening side of music. It taught me to always be curious and to dig a little deeper into the content of musical works.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CLASS: My most difficult class was Form and Analysis. At first, I didn’t think it would be possible for me to learn everything I needed to know. While this class was challenging, it was also rewarding, as I was able to see myself being pushed to the limit but never quitting. In the end, it changed the way in which I listen to music, and I can see that all the tears and hard work were #WorthIt!

DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORS ON CAMPUS: My horn teacher, Andy Harris, is one of my biggest mentors on campus. He showed me the value of playing French horn and taught me to always enjoy it. Through every struggle I encountered, he knew how to encourage me. He also taught me it is okay to make mistakes and the importance of not letting them define the following moments or even the future.

My music therapy professor, Barbara Ashton, has been another mentor for me. She helped me figure out a plan to pursue two majors and always was there whenever I had a question. She encouraged me through every step I took, and I know I always have her support.

My professor, Dr. Paula Survilla, has also been a mentor for me. I have had the privilege of taking four classes with her. In every class, she has showed me the value of learning and has pushed me to always dig deeper.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never imagined that I would have the chance to spend a May Term in Europe.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: My favorite Wartburg memory was traveling in Europe with the Castle Singers. Every country I was able to visit holds special memories that I will always take with me.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: My advice for current students is to never feel like where you are isn’t enough. There will be times when you are frustrated and don’t think you are able or capable of achieving your dreams. However, instead of looking at everything that may feel or be going wrong, look back and see where you came from. You are capable of whatever your set your heart and mind to.