ABC Academy of Music

ABC Academy of Music

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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 Nov 25 – Dec 1

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: Work on the transitions on the second page of “Beggin’” and practice the jazz samba right hand/foot pattern.

How to practice it most effectively: Focus this week on being able to play all the way to the bottom of page two without stopping. Pay close attention to the transitions between sections and make sure you don’t lose time. Next week we will continue with new material in the song. Also, practice playing the jazz samba pattern (right hand and feet) at a variety of different speeds.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice page 1 of “Can’t Stop” as well as Verse 2 and the Chorus on page 2:

How to practice it most effectively: Read the notation on the page carefully. You can read all of these rhythms so don’t just rely on your memory when playing the fills. Take the time to figure out the correct rhythms. When playing the beats, watch out for open hi-hat notes that appear occasionally. They are marked with an open circle below the the note.


Recommended minutes to practice: 5-10 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice playing the rhythms from your sixteenth note page together with your basic rock beats, just like we worked on in your lesson:

How to practice it most effectively: Play each of the rhythms a few times using both of your drums and your cymbal. Experiment with different ways of playing the rhythms around the drums. Then play one of the beats from your page of basic rock beats followed by the rhythm that you just worked on. Practice going back and forth between the beat and the rhythm without stopping or slowing down. Try different beats along with each rhythm.

Nate O.

Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice playing all the way through pages 1 and 2 of “Never Lost” by Cece Winans:

How to practice it most effectively: Focus this week on being able to play through everything that we have learned so far. Start each practice session with a run-through, then take time to fix any of the details you may have missed, then finish with another run-through. Next week we will work on the final page of the song.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Practice the two-measure beats and the application section (#21-25) from Lesson 5:

How to practice it most effectively: Practice playing each of the two-measure beats several times in a row without stopping. Try to feel both measures as a single phrase, in other words, as one whole beat rather than a combination of two beats. With the application section, focus on being able to play the whole thing without slowing down or stopping. Also, if you have time, you should revisit the one-measure beats and practice playing them with fills.


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Review the new section of “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin:

How to practice it most effectively: Have a listen to the song a few times before practicing it. I think the best way to learn the rhythms in this song is to get them in your ear first. Focus on practicing the transition between the triplets on the snare drum and the slower triplets that move around on the toms. Once you feel comfortable with this, then work on the transition into the shots on the snare and floor tom. Then, finally, try to put it all together.


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes per day

What to practice: Review the second bridge section to the end of the song and then practice playing the whole thing:

How to practice it most effectively: The most important thing at this point is being able to play through large sections of the song without stopping. The best way to do this is to begin by playing all the way through the song and take note of where you make mistakes, but don’t stop. Then go back and work on the sections where you had mistakes so you can fix them. Then finish by going back to the beginning of the song and play all the way through again without stopping. Do this each day and playing through the song will get easier.

June 12th Assignments

Super fun teaching you guys today, great job!



Recommended minutes to Practice: 5-10 minutes per day

What to practice: This week Damian I want you to practice the accent sheet but this time play the accented notes on the other drum. In addition practice this exercise sheet for Ruby Tuesday to help with getting the 16th notes in time.

How to practice effectively: For the accent sheet, make sure to keep the quiet notes low. It will help to move your wrists more and keep your arms nice and relaxed! For the Ruby Tuesday exercise just focus on keeping the 16th notes twice as fast as the 8th notes, it will help with going back and forth to the groove when playing the song!

Super fun meeting you and getting to see your legos!



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes per day

What to practice: Keep practicing all of the 16th note beats and work them at multiple tempos. Aim to get to the point where you can play the whole page all in a row, playing each beat once before moving onto the next.

How to practice effectively: Go slowly at first to make sure you have a good grasp on each beat, then try playing along to some a song like Back in Black! If you ever get stuck on a beat, try breaking it up into different parts like we did today and tackle them separately like we did before putting them back together. Then once you’re really comfortable with each beat try to go through the whole page all in a row smoothly.

Really good stuff today Koel, these are some tricky beats and you did great!



Recommended minutes to practice: 20-30 minutes per day

What to practice: Keep working on the ghost note beats and Cold Sweat.

How to practice effectively: For the ghost note sheet focus on making a difference between the accented snare notes and the ghost notes. The accented notes can come up a bit and the ghost notes can probably be played a little bit lower. Its all about creating different levels of texture. For the last few beats that are really tricky, be sure to break them down into sections and get those parts good before putting it all back together. Keep working on Cold Sweat even though we didn’t get to it today!

Great work man, keep it up!

Also here’s more Steve Gadd stuff if you’re interested:



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