Graham Tilsley

Graham Tilsley

Musician, singer-songwriter and music teacher

I have been passionate about studying music since my early teens. This curiosity introduced me to electric and upright bass, guitar, singing, some other stringed instruments, as well as songwriting and recording. Taking part in school band, jazz bands, musicals, choirs, jazz choirs…showed me how to identify and listen to different aspects of harmony and rhythm that I didn’t know even existed. I had my first experiences performing on stage with school bands. 

With the mentorship and encouragement of my high school band teacher (Nick Fanner), I went to Grant MacEwan University where I graduated with two diplomas in the Live Sound & Recording Program, as well as the Performance Program on upright and electric bass. 

Throughout high school and university, I developed my ability to read music, understand theory, and more importantly, strengthened and honed my ear. Being able to identify notes, chords, progressions at a very fast pace has opened up many opportunities for me as a musician. 

Over the past decade, some of these opportunities have lead me around the world touring with bands and artists on a number of different instruments. 

What sets me apart from other teachers is that my goal is to develop the inner strengths of each musician, and not just the instrument itself. Still, scales and techniques are a big focus for me, but learning how to develop my student’s ability to hear the intervals and patterns allows our lesson time to be focused on other aspects, like learning songs at a faster and more enjoyable rate while finding engaging ways to play our instrument(s). 

I don’t want this to be a stressful environment, however, I still encourage a weekly practice routine. I am not strict about it because I believe the point of learning the instrument is to be a light-hearted and creative outlet, not a chore. Practicing means we progress at a much higher pace, but improvements are still made slowly if we only spend lesson time on our instrument. 

While I do follow somewhat of a curriculum, I strive to tailor each lesson to the student’s needs, goals, and even just the state of mood they are in that day. 

Everything from teaching beginners how to hold the instrument and play their first notes, all the way to advanced jazz theory, ear training, songwriting, performing, gear, recording techniques… I love to inspire and develop new and accomplished musicians regardless of age or skill level. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!