Public School Workshops


Hi, this is John Stetch. I love visiting children in schools and sharing my knowledge and passion for jazz, blues and improvisation. If you’re a teacher, don’t hesitate to invite me to your school - I live mostly in Vancouver and partly in New York City, but always plan a few trips to Edmonton each year.

I recently completed Edmonton workshops at Brookside, Riverbend, Scona, St. Theresa, Dunluce, Austin O’Brien, St. Matthew’s, D.S. Mackenzie, Victoria School for the Arts, Talmud Torah and the Suzuki School. The music teachers there all told me to please keep in touch and come back, and I’d frequently get swarmed by students for autographs at the elementary schools.


I find that either half day workshops or full day workshops are best. A typical visit would look like this, in no particular sequence:

+ A large assembly of the whole school at some point (usually in the gym) where I perform a couple of short popular pieces such as my jazz arrangement of the Star Wars Theme,  O Canada, and then take questions. I’m always ready for the top 10 questions that typically come up and try to put myself in their shoes, knowing they want to be inspired.

+ Several smaller group meetings in the music room, for approximately 50 minutes each. For example, one session could be all of the grade 3’s, and the next hour could be all of the 5 & sixes, and so on. In these sessions, we add the collaborative element in, and set up any instruments that you may have such as percussion, marimbas, or any instruments.


“What will you teach in the smaller classes that we don't already do?”

Jazz and Blues are what led to pop music; they are the foundation, and classical music alone would not have led into that genre. I have taught jazz for years and performed around the world and have seen what educational tools work and why. The rhythms of jazz are very different than classical music and have syncopations. In the smaller class sessions, I would typically set up a row or two of percussion instruments for the students, and do short jam sessions with them of very simple patterns, such as a Charleston rhythm (dotted quarter followed by an eighth). Depending on the age, I might limit them to just a few notes of a pentatonic scale and improvise with just those, over a constant vamp that I provide on keyboard, or have them all learn some simple short blues call and responses together, by ear.

"We already have a music teacher. Why bring John Stetch in?"

I believe that in addition to basic music instruction and knowledge, children also need to be around real-life examples of full-time performing musicians. In an age of touch-screens and in an age where computers are taking over music-making, I feel that it is more important than ever for them to see real acoustic instruments played with perfection and beauty, right in front of their own eyes and ears. Good acoustic musical vibrations and resonance synonymous with peace, harmony, spirituality and are one example of something not related to the materialistic world we live in. The students get to meet me in person, hear me play, and know that a 6-time Juno Nominee and NYC-based Steinway Artist with 15 CD releases came from Edmonton just like them, and that they can do it too, if they dream.

Pricing (approximate):

Half-day (3 to 4 hours) - $500 - $600
Full school day - $800
(Payable by check, direct deposit or cash, no G.S.T.)



Workshops times and durations at these levels vary greatly and are often limited to the specific rehearsal times of student bands. Please contact me and we will discuss all the possibilities.


Please give me a shout if you have any questions.I look forward to meeting you and your students.
See you soon!