News Archives: GPRC Alumna Rocks Instructor Role
Friday, May 1st, 2020
GPRC conservatory instructor, Ashley Clayton.
Ashley Clayton became a teacher by a stroke of chance. Now it’s her passion.
The GPRC alumna returned to her alma mater in September as a conservatory instructor to teach guitar, bass and theory after eight years working at a local store, Music Centre Canada.
It was at the downtown Grande Prairie music store that Clayton found her calling of teaching and stepped away from performing as lead guitarist with a local gigging, recording and touring group.
“Becoming a teacher was a fluke. The store asked, ‘we need a teacher, do you think you would be able to teach students?’ I responded, ‘I think I could, I did well in my theory classes’. I started teaching and had a knack for it. I already had a skill for being organized and well prepared so I had no problem creating lesson plans,” said Clayton.
“Having the theory made it easy for me to communicate material to other people. The more I taught, I built my own style and now I’ve been teaching for almost 10 years. I love it. I don’t think I will ever do anything else.”
Clayton is now considering pursuing a Bachelor of Education. She previously graduated from GPRC with an Interactive Digital Design in Music diploma.
“The program had a lot of elements I thought were relevant to being a professional musician,” said Clayton.
Her desire to pursue a career in music emerged when she first picked up a guitar at the age of 12. She started listening to rock music and taught herself to play the guitar.
“The GPRC program offered classes in theory and that was important to me. It’s something I’m passionate about. The program also offered performance, vocal training, and the ability to utilize the on campus recording studio,” she explained.
“A huge part of the program was music technology where I learned studio engineering, how to use computer software, to mike instruments, use plugins and to complete a project with a CD quality sound.”
Clayton has also earned her Royal Conservatory of Music Level 10 in Theory and History, and ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) in Theory and History.
Her love for teaching meant making a tough choice from her initial desire to be a rock musician.
“I decided to put my efforts 100 per cent into teaching. I’m glad I had experience as a live musician,” said Clayton. “I learned a lot and it built my skills as a performer. I can now share what I did with students who want to pursue that avenue.”
The recent global pandemic of COVID-19 has not stopped Clayton from providing her students with excellent instruction.
"In the last few years, I've been working towards a digital approach to some of my lesson components, which has proven extremely valuable during this time. Luckily, technology is so integrated into our lives that even my youngest students are familiar with how a video call works,” said Clayton.
She keeps pace with contemporary tunes to assist student learning and shares her appreciation of other genres of music and the desire to want to learn a particular technique.
Half of her class time is devoted to learning a song of the student’s choice and the remainder is focused on being able to read sheet music so they can move on to playing any type of music.
GPRC Fine Arts Chair, Carmen Gorgichuk has high praise for her new colleague.
“In addition to her strong ability to teach contemporary guitar music – rock, pop, country and blues – Ashley has great skill in instructing classical learning, having completed all the levels of theory, harmony and history for the Royal Conservatory of Music,” said Gorgichuk.
“She is very accomplished and qualified to teach these subjects. This is not the norm for a so-called rock musician.”
Clayton is looking forward to continue to provide great education for current and future students. “At the end of the day I am very grateful for all my students and I am happy to provide some small sliver of normalcy during this unique global situation."
Click here to explore GPRC music programs.