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 for April 16th-23rd

Hello, students and parents!

Just a reminder that if you were here this week, you should have your end-of-year-reports. There are summaries of what we’ve accomplished together as well as goals and suggestions for moving forward. I’d suggest going over them together and I’d be glad to talk over anything on them on the 23rd.

If you were away this week, then it would be great to spend a few minutes together (student, parent and I) at the end of the lesson going over the report together this week.


#1. Continue pg. 19 #2
#2. Memorize notes to C pentatonic scale, 2 octaves.
#3. Learn Amazing Grace this week. Aim to play it as melodically and musically as possible. Remember to support your sound, especially in the second octave!


#1. Continue overtone warmup up to ‘ level C’
#2. G harmonic minor scale (pg. 62 of Voxman book). Practice along to a metronome, starting at 40 bpm and aiming towards 55 bpm for our next lesson.
#3. Continue Voxman Gm etude, focussing on the fluidity of your transition between Eb and F# (especially in the 5th line of music)
#4. Demons: Think about the build of the arrangement. When will you choose to play in unison? harmony? bassline? All are options available to you. Learn every part and experiment with your friend in rehearsal.


#1. Register switch to the 3rd register
#2. Note-naming of like notes: do your best to memorize the octave relationships between each note. Practice writing each F, each E, etc. and identifying the notes outside of a scale-based melody.
#3. Galper 113, 109.

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Preferred Books for TCHRNAME Students

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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.

Buy on Amazon