B.Mus., M.Mus.

Instructor, Music/Jazz
School of Performing Arts
Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts
School of Performing Arts - Jazz Studies
School of Performing Arts - Music

604.986.1911 ext. 2304
Fir Building, room FR115


M.Mus., School of Music, University of British Columbia, 1982.

B.Mus., School of Music, University of British Columbia, 1979.

"Keeping the music in music theory is my first goal in the classroom."


Grace McNab (M.Mus., University of British Columbia, 1982) is a music theorist and pianist who joined Capilano University in 1989 and, since then, has been teaching music theory and related subjects in the Music Diploma and Jazz Studies programs.

McNab served as Coordinator of Jazz Studies from 1997 to 2012, during which time she was active on many committees and on the Capilano University Senate.

McNab has broadened her artistic training in several areas, with extra-curricular studies in drawing, painting, and architecture and personal professional development in composition and improvisation. These studies have found their way into her teaching and research interests, which center around the creative mapping and visual display of musical information.

With the support of an educational leave from Capilano University in 2013-14, I have been working on spatious, evocative ways of drawing out musical processes, and also on using color and shape systemmatically to diagram musical behaviors in ways that students can recognize and hear.

My interest in visual display of musical information has its roots in the idea of learning by translating one kind of information into another, rather than juxtaposing multiple kinds of information, as is done when analytical symbols and explanatory words are written on an already-dense musical score.

My goal is to make music theory a lively and creative subject for students, akin to composing or performing as a piece is analyzed and represented.

My research into diagramming musical structure led me to present a poster at the EuroMac 9 (European Music Analysis Conference) in Strasbourg, France on June 30, 2017. The poster, entitled "Organic Transciption as an Embodied, Artistic-Analytic Process", presented a series of designs representing pieces of music in detailed but unconventional ways.

Long abstracts and articles from the European Music Analysis Conference, held in Strasbourg, France, 2017, were published the following year, in the conference proceedings. 

My abstract was included in that publication:

McNab, Grace. Organic Transcription as an Embodied, Artistic-Analytic Process.