Bill Kristjanson

Bill Kristjanson

Music Educator
University of Manitoba


Bill Kristjanson is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, teaching music education courses. For many years he taught at Vincent Massey Collegiate, Glenlawn Collegiate and Minnetonka schools and served as Divisional Music Consultant.

Bill has been invited to present at the International Association of Jazz Educators’ Conference, the Canadian Music Educators Conference, and provincial music education conferences in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Among guest conducting roles, he has conducted the Manitoba Provincial Junior Honour Band, Intermediate Honour Band, Honour Jazz Band, The Winnipeg Wind Ensemble and at the International Music Camp. Bill is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing teaching excellence and service to music education including, the “Manitoba Band Association Award of Distinction”, “Manitoba Jazz Educator of the Year Award”, a “CMEA Builders Award” the “D.W. Penner Award for Exceptional Service in Education” and the Canadian Band Association “National Band Award”

His leadership roles include Past President of the Manitoba Music Educators’ Association, Chairperson of the Winnipeg International Optimist Festival and a member of the Manitoba Music Curriculum writing team. Currently, he is involved in the MBA Mentorship Program and is the Artistic Director of the MBA/University of Manitoba Jazz Camp.

Bill’s teaching philosophy revolves around, “Finding something good, and helping it grow.”

  Session Titles

Everybody Wants to be on the Music Team


Building support for the music program amongst parents, colleagues and administration is less about extolling the value of music education and much more about the relationships we nurture. Create personal connections that lead to everyone wanting to be part of the Music Team.

Find Something Good and Help it Grow


This session will address how to create a rehearsal atmosphere that is engaging, energetic, and positive: where students take risks and make their own musical decisions. Go into rehearsal looking for beautiful tone, nuanced phrasing, delicate articulation and artistic music making, and watch the students blossom.

In the Tradition of…


So much of jazz repertoire for our groups can be seen through the lens of jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and Stan Kenton. This session will look at repertoire for all grade levels reflecting on how we can use our understanding of the traditions to inform our teaching, taking our students to more insightful performances and a deeper appreciation of the music.

Making it Stick


Whoever said, “We just have too much rehearsal time?” Deliberate Practice and Deep Learning are the keys to becoming more efficient with the time we have. By implementing some simple adjustments to our teaching, we can help our students retain skills and concepts, and be able to transfer their understanding to the next piece.

Teaching Jazz Improvisation in the Jazz Band Setting


Improvisation is a central component of the jazz experience, however many band directors do not feel comfortable with improvising. Even if we do, teaching it to twenty students at once in a jazz band situation is a challenge for even experienced jazz musicians. Often we end up with two or three students doing all of the soloing. This session is designed to give music educators tools to teach jazz improvisation so that every student can experience the joy of soloing.