News & Updates

04.05.17: New video lesson uploaded: MiniGrips. Check it out here!!

05.01.16: REFERENTIAL PLAYING EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!!

02.10.16: Started recording audio examples for my ebook... the end is in sight!!

01.05.16: Happy New Year, everybody!!

06.26.14: New dates added to Gigs page.

02.25.14: Hey guys!! Been a while. I've been enjoying playing, teaching guitar, and teaching music theory and ear training at Vanier College (Mtl, Qc). Back to work on my Referential Playing Ebook shortly.

05.18.13: Here's a discussion on using guide tones while improvising!!

05.12.13: Part 2 of "Some Blues Basics" is now up - check it out here!!

05.03.13: I've uploaded the first of a two-part lesson on basic blues soloing - check it out here!!

03.04.13: A new article discussing pentatonic uses in the blues, featured on Jazzguitar.be - check it out here!!

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Student Testimonials
"While I have taken lessons from many skilled musicians, Scott is the first to be an equally skilled teacher. Scott's referential theory has helped me to pull together 20+ years of incomplete fragments from countless instructors and theory books. His approach stresses making theory and practice musical, which has helped me accelerate learning the instrument beyond boxes, patterns and methods. His clear and concise instruction, and genuine passion for sharing his knowledge and experience make his Skype lessons more effective than any other face to face lessons I have taken."
- Telly C.

"Before I came to Scott for guitar lessons, I was stuck in the first three frets on the guitar. Through his methods of teaching I learned to build chords up and down the entire fretboard with an understanding of the key I was playing in. I never understood the guitar before the lessons and now I feel I can make sense of what I am playing. It makes guitar playing a lot more fun! Thanks Scott!"
- Matthew N., singer/songwriter

"As a recreational guitar player, I have struggled for many years to move beyond pentatonic boxes and basic chord shapes. Scott's method of teaching has helped me simplify my approach to the instrument and at the same time greatly expand my knowledge of the fretboard. His incremental approach to teaching puts an emphasis on making music, allowing me to immediately incorporate new concepts into my playing. I would recommend Scott to any player wanting to understand both the how and the why of playing guitar."
- Brian D., guitarist of 20 years

"I came to Scott as a complete novice to the guitar and with no real musical background to speak of. I've found Scott to be an excellent teacher, and very knowledgeable. His teaching style emphasizes learning tools/skills that are transferable to virtually any style of music, while keeping things simple enough that the concepts come through clearly. I feel like I'm learning to play the guitar, not just learning to play different songs. I would highly recommend Scott to anyone looking to learn."
- Simon C.

"Scott knows theory, Scott knows the guitar!!"
- Brian G., composer, MA student

"Dr. Scott Cook delivers a condensed, precise and experienced pedagogical approach to music theory lessons. I have experienced his teaching methods first hand, which are delivered with exceptional clarity. This creates confidence in my ability to grasp new concepts as they are presented. Worth of praise is his capable adaptation of course material, and connection to skilfully assess one's existing level of knowledge. This results in a terrific learning experience overall."
- Milan M., professional clarinetist, DMA candidate & Music Director

"I'd been playing guitar for about forty years and been, admittedly, a poor student when I contacted a well-regarded jazz teacher in Toronto to discuss my interest in studying jazz. Notwithstanding the fact that I'm quite serious about my studies at the moment he was quite derisive and dismissive upon hearing my background. That isn't Scott. Scott is completely non-judgemental, taking my interest in improving myself as a player and musician at face value. We have had a number of lessons now and Scott always unreservedly and with great clarity offers up the fruits of both his considerable playing experience and considerable academic knowledge. He is also very generous in providing support materials. If I was a high-level player coming to Scott to get deeper into theory I would be having different discussions with him but I can't imagine being treated any differently. Scott is a great teacher and a great guy. I highly recommend him."
- Randy D.

"Scott's teaching is clear, descriptive, and thorough."
- Yota K., composer, DMA student

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I am presently on faculty at Vanier College, in Montreal, Qc, where I teach music theory and aural skills. As a music theorist, I have spent a substantial amount of time analyzing works from various musical genres. For me, musical analysis represents the search for coherence within a given work, providing me with some insight into the compositional processes that were involved while creating it.

Analyzing music can:

  1. Help you play better by providing you with a stronger understanding of its vocabulary
  2. Help you compose better by clarifying what others have done before you
  3. Help you enjoy it more by making you a stronger listener

My love of theory does not necessarily come into our guitar lessons, unless the student so desires. However, I will rarely propose something to the student without having some theoretical justification for doing so.

I am also an active theory tutor. I am available to help students in the rudimentary through advanced levels of jazz and popular music theory, as well as classical music theory and analysis (including atonal models). I have continued interest in transformational theory, Schenkerian analysis, and medieval counterpoint, all of which I would enjoy working with you on.

* My rates are as follows (these apply to both guitar lessons and theory tutoring):

- 1hr, $50
- 1/2hr, $35

My academic credentials include:

  • Ph.D., Music Theory (2012)
    University of British Columbia
    Dissertation Title: "Referential Sets, Referential Tonics, and the
    Analysis of Contemporary Jazz"
  • MA, Music Theory (2006)
    University of British Columbia
    Thesis Title: "Triadic Transformation and Harmonic Coherence
    in the Music of Gavin Bryars"
  • BMus, Music Theory, Honors (2004)
    McGill University

For those interested, a copy of my dissertation, entitled "Referential Sets, Referential Tonics, and the Analysis of Contemporary Jazz," can be downloaded here.

Theory Student Testimonials:

"Dr. Scott Cook delivers a condensed, precise and experienced pedagogical approach to music theory lessons. I have experienced his teaching methods first hand, which are delivered with exceptional clarity. This creates confidence in my ability to grasp new concepts as they are presented. Worth
of praise is his capable adaptation of course material, and connection to skilfully assess one's existing level of knowledge. This results in a terrific learning experience overall." - Milan M., professional clarinetist, DMA candidate & Music Director

"Scott's teaching is clear, descriptive, and thorough." - Yota K., composer, DMA student