I began my teaching career in 1978 after graduating from The University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Music Degree (Honors Music Education) and a Bachelor of Education Degree. My first teaching position was at a comprehensive regional high school of 2200 students in Yorkton Saskatchewan (Canada). I was responsible for conducting the Concert Choir, Stage Choir, Senior Concert Band and Senior Jazz Ensemble as well as acting as piano accompanist for instrumental soloists. Highlights of my first year in Yorkton were first place in the Provincial Jazz Finals and a Gold Standard performance rating at the National Finals through Musicfest Canada. The same ensemble was also awarded first place that year at the Moose Jaw International Band Festival.

My core philosophy throughout my teaching career was that the success of any music program must start with the weakest student in the classroom and build from there. The goal was self expression and discovery through the development of a well-rounded and literate musicianship. I’ve had the great privilege of performing with many of Canada’s top jazz musicians and I always brought that experience and what I had learned from it with me to the classroom. A particular satisfaction for me has been the significant number of my music students who have gone on to achieve post-secondary degrees in music, in some cases to the Doctorate (Phd) level. I also shared my knowledge and enthusiasm for jazz improvisation leading teachers at Board PD days, with community music groups and as an adjudicator at regional music festivals.

In summary I completely believe that music education (and sports) are wonderful pursuits that go far, far beyond mere references to pedagogy and academic results: they help prepare a student for something much greater – they help a student discover who they are and in the discovery of that uniqueness prepare a student for the greatest journey of all: the journey of life.

My References (click)


checkmark“Aside from his role as counselor and advisor for many of his students, he gladly offers his time outside of class and ensemble to help individual students develop their music ability. In my view, this exemplifies his tremendous leadership ability and commitment to promoting excellence.”

—Thomas Wionzek, Student

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checkmark“John McLelland is a superb musician and educator. His piano improvisation skills inspire everyone. He supports the educational community with his talent and experience. He has been a strong musical influence on so many students and other music teachers and local musicians.”

—Susan Follows, Music and Drama – Southwood Secondary School

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checkmark“He actively seeks out and delights in celebrating great moments of those around him. I am grateful for the consistency with which John practices this ability, and the sincerity of his words. He is constantly giving his talent to those around him, and doing so with such love for the art form, and its recipients.”

—Melissa Roe, Huron Heights Collegeiate

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Updated: 29-Mar-2013