Jonathan Smith

Toronto Drum Kit and Percussion Teacher

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

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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Homework Jan. 18-23

Hello everyone! Thanks for working with me today, it was great to see you all! Here are some things you can do to show Jonny how well you did this week.

Aidan– Great job today, some real improvement from Tuesday. Good luck at your audition!! Get a good rest and have a nice warm up in the morning based on the sheet I gave you in the lesson. You’re gonna be great. For next week.

WillMinutes to practice: 45
What to practice: Beats and fills with metronome on the offbeat at different tempi. Work on giving a little extra weight to the hi hat on the beats to give it a funkier feel. Learn beats 11 and 12 from the sheet.

ElliotMinutes to practice: 30
What to practice- Beat number 2 from last week, and the new beats I wrote down for you.
How to practice: Use a metronome to help you stay in time, and occasionally throw some fills in there for fun. If a pattern gives you trouble, try to isolate the sections that are difficult. Then, work on pairs of instruments (snare and kick, hi hat and kick, and so on.

OscarMinutes to practice: 45
What to practice: Funky Drummer, get the beat right, then try to get the accents onto the beats on the hi hat to get funkier.
How to practice: Slowly! Try to separate the groove into chunks and practice those, then group it together.

AlexyMinutes to practice: 45
What to practice: New beats with open hi hats. They are pretty tricky but with some good focused practice you’ll get them sounding good. When you have the beats down, try to play them, then a fill, then basck into the beat.
How to practice: Slowly! Try to separate the groove into chunks and practice those, then group it together.

Nate-  Minutes to practice: 45
What to practice: BAD! and Blame it on the Boogie
How to practice: Listen to the tunes and internalize the grooves. Then find out where all the variations are. Play the grooves slowly, then work them up to tempo and play along with the tracks.

Great job everyone! I hope to work with you again soon. Keep up the good work!!!


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January 13-19


Come up with 3 different drum beats to play over Brass. You should be able to switch from one beat to another when there is a change in section in the song (e.g., verse to chorus).


Play the right hand part to the Entertainer on xylophone.

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