Ben McCarroll-Butler

Toronto Clarinet & Saxophone Teacher

Ben McCarroll-ButlerABC Academy of Music2018-08-28T22:00:46-04:00

Project Description

B.Mus (Humber)

Ben McCarroll-Butler is a saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist and composer living in Toronto.

Ben grew up surrounded by many deep musical traditions: Folk, Rock, Presbyterian choral music, Chamber Music and Jazz. Growing up in a musical family he sang, learned the guitar and piano before picking up the saxophone and other woodwinds. All of these traditions influence Ben’s teaching, playing and writing today.

A graduate of Humber College, Ben is a member of many jazz ensembles including Sonuskapos Jazz Orchestra (SSJO), We Are All, The Near-Distant Ensemble as well as the funk group Bassline, the improvising group The Element Choir and the folk group Decoration Day. Ben leads and co-leads his own groups the Ben McCarroll-Butler Group and The Band Named Crow, a large ensemble premiering works based on the surreal novels of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

As a composer with Spectrum Music, Ben premiers 2-4 new large-scale chamber jazz works a year. Spectrum programs themed concerts full of original music, crossing genre divides, connecting communities and telling compelling musical stories that resonate with audiences. Ben’s writing and arranging has been recognized with the 2016 Ken Page Memorial Trust Award In Memory of Ron Collier, the 2015 Dave Stillwell Arranging Award and the 2015 Spectrum Music ‘New Voices’ Young Composer’s Residency.

In his teaching, Ben aims to create an environment that encourages the student to identify and follow their interests – keeping the passion of making music at the heart of education.

Get to know Ben…Beyond the Bio!

Hobbies: reading, cooking, long-distance running.

Musical influences: Wayne Shorter, David Binney, Sam Amidon, Erik Satie, Ambrose Akinmusire, Thelonious Monk

Favourite food: Ful Medames (fava beans)

Least favourite food: Mulled tomatoes

Favourite music: Anything from the heart!

Favourite song: One of Us Cannot be Wrong – Leonard Cohen

Favourite movie: Cloud Atlas

Favourite movie music: Arrival soundtrack

Favourite musical theatre/opera: Rent

Best quote from your teacher: “Failure is much less painful than regret” – Michael Stuart

Favourite quote: “You gotta be careful; this music will make you weep” – Jamie Howison on the music of John Coltrane (from God’s Mind in that Music)

Favourite book: The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje

Best thing about teaching at ABC: Getting excited about music with my students!

Latest Homework from Ben

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Homework Post March 5-26

I hope you all have a lovely two weeks off! I’m looking forward to hearing about your time when we have our next lesson on March 26th.
For the best results in your self-driven practice in this time off, keep stock of the time you have available for practice and get on your horn regularly. Consistency is key to success! I find it helpful to leave my instrument set up in a safe space in my room (especially if you have a stand); having it out in the open can make it easier to pick up for fun.


Remember to play with deep breaths and a good posture – keep your neck strap high enough so that you’re not slouching at all.
#1. Note naming
#2. 10-20 warmup on A
#3. D minor scale tonguing exercise. Remember high D fingering: octave key and leftmost right hand palm key.
#4. Continue pg. 8 #6, start pg 9 #4.


Regarding your work with the metronome:
– Always listen to the metronome for a few bars to internalize the tempo.
– Try speaking the rhythm of the piece you’re working on, making sure to line up the beats between your rhythm and the metronome where they should.
– Optional: once you’ve played the piece on clarinet along with the metronome a few times, try recording yourself playing it back. Most cell phones have a ‘voice memo’ app that is nice and simple to use. Can you hear where you line up with the metronome and where you don’t?

#1. Note naming (remember sharps and flats)
#2. Continue Galper 97, working with a metronome at 80 building towards 90.
#3. Galper 100: practice first out of time, then with a metronome at 30 bpm. If you’re having trouble keeping the beat at 30, try doubling it to 60bpm.
#4. Continue work on So What from last week. We’ll work on it together next lesson.


#1. Continue 10-20 warmup
#2. Continue Galper exercises 63 and 88.
#3. Work on Cinema Paradiso.
– Connect long notes, tapering dynamics.
– If you’re having trouble getting the high notes, try inserting the register switch exercise to get them in tune and ringing nicely.
– Air support is key in the high register. Remember to take deep breaths!

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Preferred Books for TCHRNAME Students

Click to buy them here, and they’ll come right to your house!  What could be easier?

The Galper Clarinet Method

Volume 1

Cover of The Galper Clarinet Method Book

Buy on Amazon

Basic Elementary Method for Saxophone

One of the most widely used series of methods for individual or like-instrument class instruction. Using a very well-rounded approach including scales, arpeggios, technical studies, studies for musicianship, articulation studies, solos, duets, and studies.

Buy on Amazon

Selected Duets

for Saxophone

Cover of Selected Duets for Saxophone (Voxman)

This classic series of duets for like instruments is recognizable to nearly everyone who has ever studied an instrument. The wealth of material supplements musical development and provides a rich experience for growing musicians.

Buy on Amazon

Selected Studies for Saxophone

Cover of Selected Studies for Saxophone (Voxman)

These excellent studies are the next step for students who have completed the advanced level method for their instrument. The full-page etudes in this series, key-centered and supported by scale and arpeggio exercises, take the student to that next level of performance wherein their accumulated skills allow them to play full-length performance pieces with a high level of musicianship and competence. As such, many states include these pieces in their all-state audition lists.

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