Outside of Humber, what creative projects are you working on?
I am currently working on two projects.
I have been composing and arranging for a sextet of incredible musicians. The repertoire for this ensemble has been developing slowly over the last five years. We are currently planning a recording that will take place in the summer.
The second is a collaboration with Brian O’Kane. Brian and I plan to bring together Humber faculty for a recording project that will take place in the spring of this year. The recording will feature some of my original compositions.
How does your own creative work shape what you do in the classroom?
I often share aspects of my own work that are relevant to a concept that we are exploring. I find that when you teach through your own work, there is a more personal connection. When you explore a musical concept and you can share not only what is in the text, but can add your personal discoveries and experience, there is a completely different level of engagement.
What do you most enjoy about teaching?
I most enjoy the endless opportunity to learn. I enjoy developing new ways to share and communicate. I love being exposed to familiar information in a new or different way. I really enjoy experiencing how a musician can develop over a short period of time.
As a faculty member, you inspire the next generation of artists. Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by work ethic, commitment, fearlessness, and honesty. I see these qualities in my mentors, my colleagues, and my students. These are the qualities that shape my life. They are deeply embedded in the way I teach because they serve you well in all endeavours. If you can balance these qualities with kindness the results can be profound.
What’s the most valuable piece of professional advice you were given as a student yourself?
The most important thing that I have learned is that your life, your success, and your happiness are within your control. Talent is often the result of experience and hard work. I have consistently witnessed talent and natural gifts surpassed by dedication, focus, and work ethic. Your desire for excellence and success have to be reflected in how you expend your time and energy.
Kelsley Grant. Photo Credit Austin Hitchcock.