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Music, Introduction to Commercial Jazz Music

Ministry Title: Introduction to Commercial/Jazz Music
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Program Code: JM1 Credential: Ontario College Certificate Program Length: 2 semesters

Program Overview

Humber’s Introduction to Commercial Jazz Music certificate is a performance-based program designed to help you assess and strengthen your skills. It solidifies your knowledge of the fundamentals of western music and develops your current performance skills through the jazz-specific areas of improvisation, repertoire development and small group ensemble performance. You will emerge from the program with a clearer understanding of the field and your own career potential within it, and as a stronger candidate for entry into post-secondary music degree and diploma programs. All courses have a particular focus on the commercial/jazz field.

Learning Outcomes

No courses available


Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:

  1. Recognize & identify common styles of music.

  2. Describe the commercial/jazz field in terms of tradition, artists, & styles.

  3. Explain the contribution of various artists to the development of particular styles & idioms.

  4. Analyze the components & performance differences of recorded selections.

  5. Play a repertoire of memorized materials that are considered standards in the commercial/jazz field & reflect the various styles inherent in this music.

  6. Write diatonic melodies in various styles demonstrating knowledge of relevant harmonic & melodic concepts & structures of form.

  7. Perform in an ensemble demonstrating basic ensemble skills such as intonation, tuning, time, feel, balance & dynamics.

  8. Identify their own musical strengths & weaknesses in terms of a performance career in the commercial/jazz field.

  9. Implement strategies & plans for on-going personal & professional growth & development.

  10. Establish a practice of critical self-assessment & professional goal setting.


Select an instrument below to show specific program details including availability, admission requirements and how to apply.

Expert Faculty

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Thomas Francis

Thomas Francis is one of Toronto’s leading pianists and is well known for his extensive background in jazz and soul-based musics. Thomas played with Canadian artists such as Juno Award-winning music icon and jazz vocalist Kellylee Evans, Alexis Baro (Juno-nominated jazz artist), Dan Talevski (MMVA nominee), Melanie Durrant (Juno-nominated R&B artist), KC Roberts & The Live Revolution (Toronto funk band), The Reklaws (CCMA-winning country duo), George St. Kitts (Juno-nominated Toronto soul icon), and many more. 

Thomas completed his diploma in Jazz Performance at Humber College, and bachelor of fine arts at York University. In 2017, he completed his master's in Composition at York where his work focused on the relationship between jazz and hip-hop histories and musics and a new breadth course he created, “Hip Hop: A Study of Blackness.” His works received grants such as the 2019 Special Projects grant by the Toronto Jazz Festival and the 2021 Music Recording Project – EP Category grant from Ontario Arts Council. Additionally, he is well known for his musicianship skills in writing and arranging for strings, having established his own contemporary string ensemble, The Four Strings.  

Thomas is the host of The Jazz Gene, a weekly one-hour show on Toronto’s online jazz radio platform, Thomas has spent the last five years working as a professor of music at Centennial College and is looking forward to joining Humber’s music program as a full-time faculty member this year.

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Tania Gill

Tania Gill is a Toronto-based jazz pianist, improviser and composer who plays original, experimental and traditional music encompassing many genres. She leads and composes for the Tania Gill Quartet with Lina Allemano (trumpet), Nico Dann (drums) and Rob Clutton (bass). Her CD Bolger Station (Barnyard Records) was nominated for best debut album in the Village Voice jazz critics' poll and was Globe and Mail disc-of-the-week. She has performed, recorded and toured as a member of many notable projects/bands including The Brodie West Quintet, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Steve Reich’s 80th birthday concert at Massey Hall, Anthony Braxton and the AIMToronto Orchestra, Rebecca Hennessy, Deep Dark United, The Weather Station, The Titillators, The Mark Segger Sextet, St. Dirt Elementary School, The Woodshed Orchestra, Charles Spearin and the Happiness Project, the Victor Bateman Trio, Pete Johnston’s See Through Trio/Quartet and Quintet, Fides Krucker and many others.

“All aboard for first-class and fanciful Toronto pianist!” - Globe and Mail

Tania is a dedicated educator, who has taught at Humber for 17 years, and has worked as an adjudicator/clinician across the country. She has a MMUS in Jazz Performance from the University of Toronto and a BMUS in Jazz Performance from McGill.

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Kelsley Grant

Trombonist, composer and arranger Kelsley Grant received his bachelor of music from McGill University and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Shortly after leaving New York, he joined Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Noveau and toured the United States, Germany, Switzerland and England. Kelsley has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel LeGrand, Nicholas Payton, Sophie Milman, Ranee Lee and Nikki Yanofsky. He toured with Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Romancing The One I Love, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots, Matilda and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. He has played on several movie soundtracks including Born to Be Blue, Cirque de Soleil Alegría and Les Triplettes De Belleville. Kelsley has been twice nominated for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated Acoustic Ensemble of the Year by the National Jazz Awards. Kelsley has served as a faculty member at McGill University, University of Montreal and University of Toronto. He has given master classes and clinics at universities across Canada and is currently a full-time faculty member at Humber College

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Johnny Griffith

Johnny Griffith is a multi-Juno Award-nominated saxophonist, composer and producer who has played and recorded with numerous artists including Don Thompson, Hawksley Workman, Jeremy Pelt, Charlie Hunter, The Wailers, Fishbone, Ernesto Cervini’s Tune Town, Alex Dean, Laila Biali, Al Henderson Quintet, Brandi Disterheft and Terra Hazelton, to name a few, and is a member of the popular Canadian funk/hip hop group the Pocket Dwellers. He has toured extensively across Canada, the United States, and Europe performing at all the major Canadian music festivals as well as several international venues, including the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  
Johnny co-leads the Griffith Hiltz Trio (GHT) with guitarist Nathan Hiltz, arriving on the scene with the 2009 album Now & Then, produced by and featuring Canadian jazz legend Don Thompson. Their debut album was selected by Terry McElligott at Jazz FM 91 as Jazz Album of the Year and was nominated for a Grand Prix du Jazz from the Montreal Jazz festival. Their second, more experimental release, This is What You Get, was produced by Canadian cult icon Hawksley Workman and sat at #1 on the national jazz charts for three weeks in 2013. Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, GHT released its third album, Arcade, a nostalgic chiptune-jazz fusion nod to the music of film and video games of the 1980s.
The Johnny Griffith Quintet is the artist’s first solo venture and launched with Dance with the Lady in 2015. Featuring NYC’s Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, the album was the featured release on WBGO Jazz radio New Jersey. 2018 saw the release of The Lion, Camel and Child, again with Pelt, previewing at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2018.  
In 2015, Johnny created the non-profit independent jazz label G-B Records and has gone on to produce and/or engineer Nathan Hiltz’s Songs Poetic and Samways, Whitney Ross-Barris' The Bright Lunch Trio, Graeme Stephen’s Projector Trio, Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm’s Blued Dharma, Chris Wallace’s Many Names, Andy Ballantyne’s Play on Words and UK’s NeWt Trio’s “Drip.”

Johnny is also an active film and television composer. He has composed the scores for the films Still to Go and The Recipe, both films appearing in the Toronto International Film Festival, the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. He is also a freelance composer for the Bell/CTV media group.

Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Johnny has a Bachelor of Music from Humber College, a master’s degree in jazz performance from University of Toronto, and for the past 12 years, he has been a Humber Music faculty member.  Johnny Griffith currently lives and performs in Toronto, Canada.

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Steve Mancuso

Toronto-born drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Steve Mancuso has been active as an educator, and performing artist on the Canadian music scene since 1988.

In 2008, Steve earned his MA in ethnomusicology (Cuba, Africa) at York University. He is presently completing a PhD (ABD) at York University under the guidance of South Indian master drummer Dr. Trichy Sankaran, focusing on the art of Konnakkol, the spoken rhythmic language of the Carnatic musical tradition. He has also studied privately with master educators such as Francis Kofi Akotuah, Bruce Becker, Jim Blackley, José Luis Quintana, and Marcos Suzano, among others.

Steve is currently on faculty at both Humber College and Centennial College (MIAP) where he instructs contemporary drum set, world percussion, and various performance and pedagogical ensembles. In addition, Steve is an educator and clinician endorsed by Bosphorus Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Remo Drum Heads.

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Dave Neill

Born and raised in Ottawa, saxophonist Dave Neill moved to Toronto in 1995 to pursue a jazz performance degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with Alex Dean and Mike Murley.

Working as a performer, adjudicator and clinician, Dave is active on the freelance scene, including jobs with Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, Frankie Valli, Regis Philbin and Nikki Yanofsky. He has adjudicated at festivals across Ontario, including the national Musicfest finals, and has given a clinic at OMEA entitled “Breaking Down Barriers for Jazz Improvisation.”

Now a full-time professor at Humber College, Dave teaches a variety of courses, including Business for Creative Industry and Song Materials, as well as private lessons in the woodwind area. Previously, he taught at the University of Toronto from 2004-2016 and the Humber College Community Music School from 2000-2015, as well as mentoring the next generation of performers at the Youth Jazz Canada’s Summer Jazz Workshop and the IMC Jazz Camp.

Dave completed his master’s in jazz performance at the University of Toronto, and has released two CDs as a leader. His debut quartet CD, All In, featured his original compositions, while his follow-up CD, Daylight, was named as one of the top Canadian Jazz CDs of 2014 by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen.

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Anthony Panacci

Anthony Panacci attended the Humber Music jazz program from 1976 to 1980 and has also received his grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He is currently on faculty at Humber teaching jazz piano and in the recording studio department.

Since 1976, he has been playing extensively in the Canadian music scene both live and in the studio. Anthony is a very versatile musician who plays jazz in festivals and clubs across Canada, notably in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. In 1986, he toured Canada with classical guitarist Liona Boyd. He has played and recorded pop and country with David Clayton Thomas, Petula Clark, Shirley Eikhard, the Mersey Brothers and Pete Wade, and Latin jazz with the Montuno Police, Robby Ameen and his own project, Eclectica Latino, featuring Raul Pineda and Roberto Viscaino.

Anthony also owns a full digital recording studio in his house where he engineers and produces for bands, singers and music for TV, radio and many different jazz projects, including his own, Eclectica Latino and Blues for Jazz, and his wife Mary’s Her Perfume.

In 2016 and 2017, Anthony played in the house band for the CBC Canadian Screen Awards with Norm MacDonald and Howie Mandel. He was Mississauga's musician of the year award in 1999 and received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award for Mississauga.

Your Career

As a student in our program, you will study with many of Canada’s finest jazz musicians, thereby learning the craft directly from the pros. The program will help you develop the ability to accurately and confidently assess your skills in relation to existing vocational opportunities and future career directions.

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Program Availability

Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
September 2022 Lakeshore Open
Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
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On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all the requirements below in order to meet minimum program eligibility. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Admission decisions will be available via MyHumber, or by email and mail. Admission decisions will not be released by phone.

Admission selection is based on the following 4 requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent including these required courses:
      • Grade 12 English (ENG4C or ENG4U or equivalent)
      • Three Grade 11 or Grade 12 C, M or U courses in addition to those listed above



    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet program eligibility.


    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.


    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.


    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • Audition

  • All successful applicants must pass a performance audition on their intended instrument of specialty.

    Bass / Brass / Guitar / Piano / Percussion / Woodwind / Violin/Cello / Voice

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a WES or ICAS evaluation.


Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

Not available

Equipment & Device Requirements

Details and Specifications Minimum Specs Recommended Specs
Processor MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or Mac mini with i5 processor i7 processor
Memory 16GB RAM 32G RAM
Other Microphone (USB mic: Audio-Technica AT2020), "MIDI Controller (semi-weighted keys, used in conjunction with software), Keyboard Only : Keystation 61 MK3 ", Headphones: Audio-Technica (optional)

Contact Information

If you have questions about these Equipment & Device Requirements contact:

Heather Lowry, associate dean
416.675.6622 ext. 4552


The 2016/2017 fee for two semesters was:

  • domestic $4,687.78*
  • international $14,200.

*Note: Price will vary according to instrument profile.

Amounts listed were the total of tuition, lab and material fees, student service and auxiliary fees for the first two semesters of the 2016/2017 academic year. Fees are subject to change.


Humber Scholarships

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries that you may be eligible for, visit Student Scholarships. International students can visit International Student Scholarships.

Humber Bursaries

Bursaries are available for Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs primarily based on financial need, visit Humber Bursaries.

External Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Find out more information about external scholarships and bursaries, visit External Awards.

Indigenous Student Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, visit Indigenous Student Awards.


Pathways are academic routes that students can take to move from one credential to another.

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

Domestic Students  

Phone: 416-675-5000

International Students  

Contact the International Centre

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Contact Information

Kelsley Grant, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 3290

How to Apply

Applications to Humber are made through Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program. To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber's program pages or

Admissions Road Map


If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Apply through the International Centre

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