Jonathan Smith

Toronto Drum Kit and Percussion Teacher

Jonny Smith
Jonny SmithABC Academy of Music2017-11-27T20:33:27-04:00

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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Sept 13-18 Practice

Will- Practice Ride, especially going in and out of the fills. Try to be able to play it from memory for next week! Also, take a look at the subdivison sheet and try moving the accents onto the toms.

Elliot- This week, work on the subdivision sheet with your feet marking the time. If you’re in 4/4 time, add the kick to beats 1 and 3, and the hi hat to 2 and 4. In cut time, add kick drum on beat 1 and hi hat on beat 3.

Alexy- Practice your rhythm sheet the way we did in the lesson, replacing one part of the basic rock beat (hi hats, snare, or kick) with the rhythm on that instrument. Do this slowly at first with a metronome and over the week you’ll be able to get it pretty fast.

Oscar- Practice the triplet kick drum patterns and incorporate the hi hat. Start it really really slow then bring it up to speed. When it gets comfortable, try doing weird stickings like paradiddles and doubles. Once you can do all these variations, playing a simple one will be effortless.

Nate- Walk up to a keyboard as many times as you can and identify where all of the natural notes (no sharps or flats) are. Then, play C major, G major, and F major scales. If you can’t get any time on a keyboard at school, try a couple times on an online keyboard, I recommend this one

It was good to see you all again! Thanks for the good work, have a nice week!

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June 22 / Summer send-off


  • Here is the Praise the Lord beat.
  • The bass drum notes are confusing with all the crazy beaming. The easiest way to read the bass drum notes is to play them at the same time as the hi-hat notes above them.
  • The first two (of the three) rim clicks are connected with a curved line called a “tie”. In this particular context, the tie means ignore the second note. Therefore, you should only play the first and third rim clicks.
  • Here is one way to learn the beat:
    1. Play it without the rim clicks or the open hi-hat at the end.
    2. Add the rim click rhythms but play them as snare hits. Still no open hi-hat.
    3. Same thing but play the rim clicks as rim clicks. No open hi-hat.
    4. Add in the open hi-hat.
  • Summer tip: Play with other people as much as possible. Get together with friends and just plays song you like (or make up your own!). Playing with others is an essential component of becoming a good musician, and I unfortunately cannot give you that experience in one-on-one lessons.

Have a great summer, Jonathan! You were a pleasure to teach.

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