Owner/Operator of Lowe's School of Music - Port Credit
Guitarist, specializing in Classical, Jazz, Blues/Rock, and Music Theory
Timothy Smith began working at Lowe’s School of Music in the fall of 1996. He quickly realised his love of teaching, and his talent for inspiring students of all ages. It was then that he decided that he would like to pursue a career in music education. In 2005, after completing his Master’s Degree, Smith fulfilled his dream by becoming the owner of Lowe’s School of Music – Port Credit.
The success of Smith’s students is far reaching. They have gone on to be accepted into some of the most prestigious guitar programs across Canada and the United States, including the Classical and Jazz Performance programs at the University of Toronto, the Performance programs at Ottawa University, York, Western, Laurier, Queen's, Carleton, Guelph, Windsor, and Brock, as well as the highly competitive Jazz programs at Humber College and Mohawk College.
Smith also specialises in preparing young students for the highly competitive guitar program at Cawthra Park S.S. Cawthra typically only accepts one or two guitarists per year out of the forty to sixty who audition, and on numerous occasions both those students have been from Smith’s studio. His students perform and compete regularly throughout the region, and recently one was profiled on television as a child genius for his skilled electric guitar playing.
Smith began his studies at age eight with renowned guitarist and teacher, Dr. Alvin Tung, whose other students also include Ewan Dobson and Aaron Brock. During the 13 years that he studied with Dr. Tung, Smith also attended the International School for the Musical Arts (ISMA) for six consecutive summers from 1993 to 1998. There he was given the opportunity to hone his skills as both a solo guitarist, and as a chamber music performer.
In 1994, Smith was accepted into the Regional Arts Program at Cawthra Park S.S. with a major in music. Their accelerated music curriculum covered music theory, history, and composition, and offered Timothy unique challenges helped him grow as a guitarist and performer.
Smith completed his high school education and graduated from the Regional Arts Program in 1999, at which point he was accepted into the highly competitive Performance Program at the University of Toronto. The University of Toronto only accepts a limited number of performance students each year, and these positions are shared among all instruments. For the three years leading up to Smith’s acceptance into the program, no other guitarists were accepted. When Smith, together with his future duet partner Drew Henderson, successfully auditioned in 1999, they were the only two guitarists accepted in that calendar year.
During his undergraduate degree Smith excelled in the study of music theory under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Sallmen. By his fourth year, Smith had been granted admittance to participate in graduate theory courses. As a result, Smith was now studying alongside Master’s students who had formerly been Teaching Assistants in his earlier theory courses. He would later continue his studies in advanced theory during his graduate studies.
In 2003 Smith studied for one year with the iconic Canadian guitarist and pedagogue, Eli Kassner, who himself studied with the great classical guitarist Andre Segovia and whose other students include Liona Boyd and Jesse Cook.
After completing his Bachelor’s degree, Smith then continued his studies at McMaster University, obtaining in 2005 a Master’s Degree in Music Criticism, which is an academic program focusing on music reviewing, music theory, critical thinking, and philosophy.
As a student, Smith competed regularly throughout Ontario and Canada. He won top prizes in all major competitions in the region, and would travel to various other cities to broaden his experience as a performer and competitor. Most notably, in 1999 Smith won top prize at the National finals of the Canadian Music Competition. This required him to first compete locally in Toronto, and then compete provincially across Ontario, and finally to travel to Edmonton, Alberta to compete nationally.
Smith’s debut performance was at age 12 in his home city of Mississauga. Later, while studying at ISMA, he was given the honour of being selected to perform in many of the concerts held by the school. In the summer of 1999 Smith received his professional debut when he was invited as a special guest artist at two performances of The Muskoka Lakes Music Festival. That season he performed brilliantly both as a soloist and in a duet with his instructor Dr. Alvin Tung. He subsequently received an invitation for a return engagement the following season.
In 2002 the Toronto Guitar Society asked Smith and his performance partner Drew Henderson to perform a duet recital to celebrate society’s 45th year. The anniversary celebration was the society’s largest event of the season, and the performance drew a standing ovation from the sold out crowd.
Smith has also performed with various rock, blues, and folk acts throughout the years. Most recently, Smith spent a year as guitarist for the Toronto band Travis Caine and the Lasting Effect. Smith has taken some time away from the band to help raise his new baby daughter, but looks forward to working with Travis Caine again in the future.
The Guitar Society of Toronto
Smith was honoured in 2008 to be offered a position as a member of the Board of Directors for the Guitar Society of Toronto (www.guitarsocietyoftoronto.com). The GST is the longest running guitar society, founded by Eli Kassner in 1955. Since then, the society has hosted every major classical guitarist from around the world. Smith’s position on the board keeps him in close contact with the most knowledgeable and influential classical guitarists from around the GTA and Canada.
CD Reviewer for Minor7th.com
In 2003 Smith was hired as the sole Classical Guitar Reviewer for the website minor7th.com. The online magazine is published every two months, and for each edition Smith typically contributes one to three reviews. Over the years he has reviewed releases from many major performers as well as numerous rising young performers. His position at minor7th.com has not only offered Smith the opportunity to share his vast knowledge of the classical guitar, performance practice, and theory, but it has also been an outlet to express his love of writing.
Since completing his education and buying Lowe’s School of Music in 2005, Smith has been in regular demand as an adjudicator for various competitions throughout Ontario. The Canadian Kiwanis Festival has called upon Smith as an adjudicator on numerous occasions, most notably in 2012 when they offered to fly him to their Sudbury chapter for three days of guitar competitions.
Electric Guitar and Popular Styles
Although Smith is widely known as one of the most sought after classical guitar instructors in the region, his skill as blues, rock, and jazz player and improviser should not be over looked. Smith’s love of the guitar is not relegated to the classical genre, as is evidenced from the broad spectrum of talented guitarists he has trained.
Smith has a fond love of improvisation, and has developed his own unique method to quickly and effectively open up this important musical realm to his students. Many guitarists have come to study with Smith specifically for this reason, and have described his method as “life changing”.
Smith has also spent years reflecting on, and refining his methods of teaching various high-level electric guitar techniques including: sweep picking, economy picking, alternate picking, legato scales, pinch harmonics and associated harmonic techniques, finger tapping, and countless exercises to develop left hand strength and dexterity. His effective methods of developing technique have meant that he has had students as young as 11 years old perform challenging and iconic electric guitar works, such as Van Halen’s Eruption.
As a result of Smith’s cross-over knowledge of both Classical and Non-Classical styles and techniques, he ideally suited to the unique world of Fingerstyle guitar. Over the years he has performed and taught works by Michael Hedges, Don Ross, Andy McKee, Tommy Emmanuel, as well as many others.
Aside from playing and technique, Smith has a keen interest in guitars, amplifiers, and pedal effects. He can help students navigate the complex world of tone and effects, and can guide them towards many unique and high quality products that will meet their needs.