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 July 2-8

Hi everyone,

Now that we have transitioned 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: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the first 12 exercises from the Lesson 3 sheet:

How to practice it most effectively: Take time to carefully read and count the rhythms in each of these exercises before you try to play them. Start slow and focus on keeping the rhythm consistent and the beat steady. Once you feel comfortable playing each rhythm, then try speeding it up.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the fills that we worked on from the song “Get Used To It.”

How to practice it most effectively: Spend time working on the line that starts with measure 5 and also the line that starts with measure 29. Be sure to count the rhythms carefully and give all the notes their full rhythmic value (especially the quarter notes). If you find the rhythms to be tricky, then isolate just the bars that have the tricky rhythms and practice them alone. Then, once those bars start to feel more comfortable, put them back into context with the other bars immediately before and after. 


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice fills using the sticking permutations that I wrote down for you as well as the “Single Beat Combinations” (both are in this Google Drive folder:)

How to practice it most effectively: Spend some time just getting used to the sticking patterns and how they fit within the beat. The “Single Beat Combinations” are all in patterns of four or eight, so they fit nicely within the beat. However, the sticking permutations that I wrote down are in patterns of 3, 5, or 7, so they will always shift against the beat. Practice these exercises first with both hands on the snare drum, then move the right hand to the toms while keeping the left hand on the snare. Then practice playing them as drum fills after a bar or two of a drum beat.


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: All of the fills from “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock, especially the new long one.

How to practice it most effectively: Review all the shorter drum fills from last week and practice playing all of them in a row with 2 or 3 bars of the regular beat in between each one. Also practice playing along with the recording so that you get used to the speed of the song; you have a tendency to play this song too fast. Then, practice playing the long fill. Take it extra slowly at first and then, once it starts to feel comfortable, try playing it at the speed of the rest of the song. 


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the first 6 exercises from the “Lesson 4” page.–sAhgC9zceezlfeYJwA6JWlY?usp=sharing

How to practice it most effectively: I’m sorry we got cut off at the end of the lesson! I wanted to say that it was very nice to meet you and I’m happy we have the chance to work together this summer. You’re doing very well with the drum beats that Pino had you working on! I would like to continue with this but also work on some snare drum rhythms and also perhaps start working on learning a song over the summer. We’ll talk more about this next Thursday. See you then!


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Review the first page from the Stick Control book and also practice these accent patterns that I have written down for you:

How to practice it most effectively: With the stick control exercises, try moving your right hand from the snare drum over to the toms while keeping your left hand on the snare. This will help you to think of ways that these sticking patterns can be played in different ways around the drums. With the accent patterns, remember to keep the sticks low to the drum when you’re playing the non-accented notes and only lift them higher when you are preparing to play an accented note. This requires a great degree of control, so be sure to practice it slowly at first!


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the “Single Beat Combinations” from the first page of the Stick Control book and also work on the “flam accent.”

How to practice it most effectively: Practice playing each of the sticking patterns using mostly your wrists and fingers to move the sticks. This is important for developing speed and a controlled bounce in your snare drum playing; you can’t playing quickly or control the bounce of your stick very well if you’re playing mostly from the elbow. Also, with sticking patterns and the flam accent, be sure to work on getting a consistent sound from both of your hands; the right hand shouldn’t be heavier than the left just because it is your dominant hand. This will likely mean that you have to focus more on what your left hand is doing in order to even out the sound.

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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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