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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Assignments for the Week of October 3-9

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that we won’t be having lessons next week. Those of you who responded to Barnaby that you would like to come to my concerto performance next Thursday, I will see you there! Those who can’t make it, I’ll see you at your regular lesson time in two weeks. If you haven’t responded to Barnaby yet, please do so as soon as you can. Thanks!!

Here are your practice assignments for this week:


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: The accent patterns written in your book.

How to practice it most effectively: Same as last week, first practice #s 1-4 for a while until they start to feel comfortable. Then move on and practice #s 5-7. Focus on keeping the volume of the non-accented notes low so that you can hear the rhythm of the accent pattern. Play the quarter-note pulse on the bass drum if you are able to.


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: The 16th-note beat that we started working on this week.

How to practice it most effectively: Just like with everything else that we do, start out practicing this beat very slowly. It’s better to go slow and play it correctly than it is to try to go too fast and have to keep starting and stopping. Focus on keeping the hands alternating (Right, Left, Right, Left, etc.) and play the bass drum only on beats 1 and 3 and the snare only on 2 and 4.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The “Rock and Funk” beats from the sheet in your folder.

How to practice it most effectively: Try to get your drum kit switched around this week so that you can play the bass drum with your left foot. Since you are left handed, I think this will be a very good change for you. Try to play each of the beats on that sheet at different speeds to exercise the left foot.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The xylophone part for “The Incredibles.”

How to practice it most effectively: As I mentioned in your lesson, you can read notes (pitches) fairly well, but you need to work on reading rhythms as well. You should be able to identify half notes, quarter notes, dotted quarter notes, and eighth notes, and you should be able to count these rhythms out loud. Just getting the notes right isn’t enough if you’re guessing at the rhythms. We’ll work more on this next time, but for now work on counting the rhythms in your music out loud as best you can.

Nate M.

Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The two main drum beats from “Spirit of Radio” and the first two measures of beat #3.

How to practice it most effectively: Work on developing consistency with the two beats you worked on last week. They sound pretty good but you need to be able to play them consistently throughout the song. Take them slow at first and then speed them up. Also, take a look at the first two measures of the new beat. Learn to play it very slowly and we’ll work on it more next week.


Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The new accent patterns as well as the transitions in the song “In Bloom.”

How to practice it most effectively: Take the accent patterns slow and work on moving the accents around on the toms in different ways. You can also feel free to be creative with this and try to come up with your own accent patterns. With the song, just focus on the transitions between sections and working out some of the fills (they can be whatever you want them to be).

Nate O.

Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: The new beats that we worked on and I wrote in your book.

How to practice it most effectively: Read the beats carefully in your book and count the rhythms out loud before you try to play them. Take the beats slowly and be careful of the places where you have to play the bass drum separately from the hi-hat. These spots require a lot of coordination so you’ll have to practice them slowly.

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Oct 6-11 Practice

Good job this week everyone! Sorry for getting this out late, this is what you should look at for next lesson.

Aidan- Look at all 3 of the melodies from school. Try your best to not memorise it (unless it happens naturally) and keep looking at the sheet. Please bring the snare drum sheet as well for next lesson.

Jack- Look at beat #5 in your book as well as the Lesson 1 sheet #1-15. Work up the more difficult beats from a slow speed and get faster throughout the week.

Jonathan- Work on solidifying the Yes Indeed beat. You can play all the parts perfectly, now it just needs a bit of time to become fluid and comfortable. Also, continue with Swing sheet B and this time incorporate the fills (you can pick any ones you like). The goal is to be able to play one pattern, a fill, then straight into the next pattern.

Harry- Continue practicing your school assigned melodies. They are going really well! Make sure to keep looking at the music and try not to rely on memory.

I’ll see you all soon, have fun with this!!

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