Jonathan Smith

Toronto Drum Kit and Percussion Teacher

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Jonny SmithABC Academy of Music2017-11-27T20:33:27-05:00

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 January 9-15

Hi everyone,

Here are your practice assignments for this week:


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: #1-12 from the “Lesson 5” sheet.

How to practice it most effectively: Start by reviewing all the rhythms that we worked on at the beginning of your lesson. Then practice #1-12 on the lesson 5 sheet by identifying the rhythms on the snare and bass drum, counting them out loud, and then playing them together with the hi-hat. If you have trouble with the coordination, practice slower.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: The two new drum beats that I wrote down in your book.

How to practice it most effectively: These drum beats involve playing sixteenth notes on the snare drum in between some of the hi-hat notes. First identify where the snare notes should be placed, then count the beat out loud slowly as you play. This will help with accuracy of the rhythm and consistency as you repeat the beat several times.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The two 16th note beats that I wrote down in your book.

How to practice it most effectively: Focus on keeping a steady speed on the hi-hat while alternating between your left hand and right hand. Count the beat in your head so that you don’t miss the snare drum on 2 and on 4. Also, remember that all the bass drum notes will be played together with your left hand on the hi-hat.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The introduction of “The View From The Afternoon” by the Arctic Monkeys.

How to practice it most effectively: Focus on keeping a steady pulse on the floor tom throughout this intro. Look closely at the notes that I wrote down in your book to make sure you’re playing each part correctly. Practice slowly at first and then, as it starts to feel comfortable, try to gradually get closer to the speed of the song.

Nate M.

Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The rhythm review that I wrote down in your book.

How to practice it most effectively: Start by reviewing each of the types of notes that we talked about in your lesson and how each one should be counted. Then practice counting and playing the four rhythms that I wrote down for you. With #4, write the counting below the notes before you try to play it. If you have trouble, use the examples at the top of the page as a reference.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The second pre-chorus and the bridge from “Arabella” by the Arctic Monkeys.

How to practice it most effectively: Practice the pre-chorus at a comfortable speed several times while counting the beat out loud or in your head. Then, once it feels comfortable at that speed and all the rhythms are secure, then speed it up a little bit and practice it some more. Gradually get closer to the speed of the song, but don’t sacrifice accuracy for speed. With the bridge, focus on getting used to the coordination required to play the beat. It will feel weird at first playing the snare drum on every beat with the bass drums in between, but it will start to feel more groovy with more practice.

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Break Practice

Hi everyone! Great work today, thanks for working hard this term! It has been a pleasure getting to know you all and your individual musical styles. Here is what I would like for you to practice over break.

Aidan- Practice scales up to 4 sharps and flats every day for memory. Say the key, list the accidentals in the key signature, name the arpeggio, then play. If you are ever unsure of a key, just look it up online and there will be hundreds of resources to tell you what the key signature is. Remember that only daily practice will allow you to internalize this information, so make sure you get to it every day. It may be tough and tinme consumingat first, but once it is memorized it will only take about 3 minutes to go through all if it.

Jonathan- Over break listen to Let her Go and Clocks a bunch of times, so that you memorise the structure of the songs. For Clocks, practice the transitions between the ride, closed hi hat, and open hi hat. For kick drum speed, work on playing heel toe in these triplet patterns (RLL, LLR, and LRL). Play through each pattern for about 5 minutes each with a metronome. Start around 60 bpm, and increase by 4 clicks every day.

Harry- Think of what songs you would like to play in the beginning of the new year.

Sam- Think of the type of music you want to make, and select a few songs. Listen to them and try to recreate them with your own style on Garage Band. Take the time to look at some Garage Band tutorials, and learn to use the software. A great thing to do is watch people create a track, and follow along making your own track using all of the same tools.

Ali- Practice Lesson 6 if you can before Tuesday.

I hope you all have a fantastic break, I’ll see you soon!

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