ABC Academy of Music

ABC Academy of Music

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Jonny Smith2020-10-23T15:51:09-04:00

Project Description

B.Mus (Mt. A)
M.Mus (UofT)
DMA (UofT) in-progress

Jonny Smith is an experienced teacher with a passion for education. He holds both a Master of Music degree (2012) and a Bachelor of Music (2010), and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Toronto. He also works as a performer, teacher, and clinician in Toronto. Jonny is a creative and encouraging teacher who tailors lessons to the student’s specific needs. He is excited to help students of all ages and abilities to attain their musical goals while developing a deeper understanding and appreciation for all kinds of music.

Jonny has studied many diverse styles of music (Classical, Rock, Jazz, Funk, Latin American music, Brazilian Samba and West African drumming) and is able to teach many different percussion instruments (marimba/xylophone, snare drum, drum-set, timpani, and auxiliary percussion). Jonny has had students accepted to post-secondary music programs at prestigious institutions such as the University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School.

Jonny has experience teaching music in a variety of capacities. In addition to teaching private lessons, he has given clinics to high school and junior high percussion students in schools around the GTA and at music camps. Jonny also coaches the percussion ensemble and contemporary music ensemble at the University of Toronto.

Jonny is a versatile performer, well-versed in both classical and contemporary music. He has performs regularly with a variety of orchestras, bands, and other ensembles. He is a co-founder and active member of two Toronto-based ensembles: Taktus, a marimba duo, and Spectrum Percussion Quartet. He also is the drummer for the alternative/indie band Barbarosa. He brings the value of real-world experience as well as the love of music to each lesson that he teaches.

Get to know Jonny…Beyond the Bio!

Hobbies: Playing tennis and reading (history and classical literature)

Musical influences: Beverly Johnston, Russell Hartenberger, Michel Deschenes

Favourite food: Tacos

Least favourite food: Scallops

Favourite music: Glenn Gould, Ann Southam, Steve Reich, John Cage

Favourite song: Barrett’s Privateers – it reminds me of where I grew up.

Favourite movie: Memento

Favouirite movie music: Shutter Island Soundtrack

Best quote from your teacher: Subdivide and Conquer

Favourite quote: “The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.” – W. Somerset Maugham

Favourite book: Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August

Best thing about teaching at ABC: The students!

Latest Homework from Jonny

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Assignments for the Week of Oct. 14-20

Hi everyone,

With the transition to ZOOM video lessons, I am no longer able to write down notes and musical material in the students’ books/binders. Instead, I have created PDF documents for each of you and dropped them into a Google Drive folder. The link to your documents is listed in the What to practice heading under your name below. You should be able to access the documents simply by clicking on the link. Here are your practice assignments for this week:


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: Review the first page of “Beggin’” and then work on page 2.

How to practice it most effectively: The critical thing with the fill at the top of page 2 is to make sure everything is played in time. Remember that the open hi-hat with bass drum is played on the “a” of 2 (“2 e & a”) and the snare note with a drag is played on the “&” of 3. This timing is tricky so listen carefully to the recording to help you with your practicing.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice beats 1-6 from the page “Syncopated Bass Drum Beats”:

How to practice it most effectively: You already have a good handle on beats 1-4, so begin by reviewing those ones. Once you begin to feel comfortable with them, then try playing them ini combination with a drum fill of your choice (3 bars of the beat and then 1 bar of fill). With beats 5 and 6, practice them slowly and make sure you can count the rhythm of the bass drum part before you begin.


Recommended minutes to practice: 5-10 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the beat from “Immigrant Song”:

How to practice it most effectively: Focus this week on playing the beat that incorporates the cymbal. Take is slowly and loo at each note written on the page to make sure you’re playing all of them correctly. Remember that sometimes the bass drum plays together with the cymbal, and sometimes it plays by itself. The cymbal also plays by itself at the very end of the beat.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice page 2 of “Can’t Stop”:

How to practice it most effectively: Focus this week on all the sections that use the open hi-hat. This is an important part of this song and it is a good way to start working on using your left foot. Sometimes the bass drum plays at the same time as the open hi-hat (feet moving opposite from one another) and sometimes the bass drum plays right after (feet moving together). Take it slow and pay close attention to the rhythms.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the verse beat and chorus beat from “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin:

How to practice it most effectively: First practice each beat individually. Remember that the second snare drum isn’t where you think it should be in the verse beat. In the chorus beat, it is important to play the two sixteenth notes on the hi-hat in order to get the correct rhythm for the last two bass drum notes. Once both beats start to feel comfortable, then practice playing them together: verse beat once, chorus beat three times, and then back to the verse beat.

Nate O.

Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice verse 2 and the chorus of “Never Lost” by Cece Winans:

How to practice it most effectively: Practice playing verse 2 together with the recording. Make sure that you’re counting each bar so that you don’t miss where the fill goes at the end of the sixth bar. The practice the chorus on your own. Pay close attention to all the bass drum notes and make sure that you’re not leaving any out. Try counting to six in your head during each bar to make sure that you are keeping time properly.

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