Christopher B. Johns-Klein
Teaches Concert Band and Jazz Band

Martinez Middle School, Lutz

Education: Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Master of Music in Oboe Performance, both from USF

Hometown: While I consider Tampa home, I am a proud ARMY brat. My dad served 28 years in the US ARMY as Military Police. I was born in Alabama, and spent my life in Kansas, Germany, Pennsylvania, and Florida. We moved to Florida in 1999, and I have been here ever since.

How did your journey begin? I started piano when I was 5, and after having a crazy piano teacher at 13 I quit (still one of the only regrets I have in my life). I picked up band the following year. I wanted to play euphonium. It’s what my dad played. But he said it was too big and wouldn’t let me. I ended up with a tenor sax. After a month of lugging an instrument case that was longer than I was tall back and forth from school, I’d had enough. I switched to alto sax and finished the year. That summer, we moved back to the US, and I decided I was bored. I went to my Middle School Band Director and told him I had noticed low woodwind numbers were low, and if he wanted me to play bassoon, I’d be happy to. Like every band director ever, he happily gave me one. Unfortunately, it was in such poor shape that I couldn’t play it. When I went back in after my first lesson, distraught, he gave me an oboe. My life was never the same.

Hobbies: I am an avid cruiser, usually spending 25-30 nights at sea each year. Beyond that, I cook and bake. To the point that I have a YouTube channel and Instagram account for it. CBS Local called my 10 Layer Chocolate Cake the best in Tampa Bay. It’s nice to have an outlet that lets me be creative, and eat delicious things at the same time.

The coolest/most daring/out of the box experience you have had: I once went to China for 24 days to teach a summer music festival. It was a long trip, and a long time to be away. I liked it so much I did it the next year. Those 48 days in China added countless pounds to me because of the food I ate. Teaching music was cool too.

The most important thing in your life: My family. I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing immediate family, an amazing set of in-laws, and an amazing extended family. They are everything. They are incredibly supportive of me, and everything I do. My program is more successful because of them.

One piece of advice for students: Celebrate the person you are, not the person someone wants you to be. Your life is too short to fit someone else’s mold. Be you, completely. Take it from someone who took literal decades to get there. Love yourself. And be around the people who love you for exactly who you are. You are loved, you are worthy, and you are celebrated. Just as you are.

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