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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 21-27

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: Practice the first two pages of “Beggin’” and keep working on playing rhythms around the drums:

How to practice it most effectively: Practice playing all the way through the first two pages of “Beggin’.” Isolate the parts that you have trouble with and focus on those sections, then go back to playing all the way through. Review the rhythm sheet a little bit each day that you practice and work on moving around the drums. Remember to be creative with how you apply the rhythms on drums; don’t just follow predictable patterns.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice beats 5-7 from the page “Syncopated Bass Drum Beats” and the verse beat from “Can’t Stop”:

How to practice it most effectively: Practice the rhythms of the bass and snare drum parts in these beats before you add in the hi-hat. When you add the hi-hat, take it slowly and make sure that the bass drum notes are lining up properly with the hi-hat. Take some time to also review the verse beat and fill from Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.


Recommended minutes to practice: 5-10 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the accent patterns from the page provided:

How to practice it most effectively: Work on playing each of these accents patterns on one drum with both sticks (alternating right and left). Remember to keep the non-accented note soft so that the accents will stick out. Once you feel comfortable playing them at a slow speed, then try playing them faster. Always keep the rhythm steady regardless of what speed you are playing.

Nate O.

Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: Review the chorus of “Never Lost” by Cece Winans and then practice the chorus repeat on the new page:

How to practice it most effectively: Great work on verse 2 this week! It sounds really good. Review the chorus to make sure you’re playing all the bass drum notes in the right place. Then take a look at the new fills from the repeat of the chorus. The beats are the same, but the drum fills are different.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice page 3 of “Can’t Stop”:

How to practice it most effectively: Focus on the drum fill that leads from the guitar solo into verse 3. Reference the recording of the song to make sure you know how it’s supposed to sound. The practice playing from that fill all the way to the end of the song. The last measure is a little bit different from the regular verse beat, so watch out for that.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice up to the second chorus variation from the new page of “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin:

How to practice it most effectively: This new page lays out the form for the first section of the song. Start with the fill leading into the verse beat. Be careful of the sticking in this section to make sure that the left hand plays the last tom note and the right hand plays the crash. From there, progress through the chorus beat, back to the verse, then the chorus beat again with the two variations.


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the Bridge section of “So Much To Say” by Dave Matthews.:

How to practice it most effectively: Focus on the main beat at the beginning of the Bridge. Play it slowly at first until you are comfortable repeating it seven times in a row (indicated in the notation) and then try playing it faster. For the other bars at the end of the bridge, focus on counting the rhythms first and then playing them on the drums.

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