THE TORONTO INSTITUTE FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF MUSIC

Jeff Butterfield

Digital Music, Drums, Percussion,

About Instructor

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If you had to only listen to 2 albums for the rest of your life, what albums would you choose?

Narrowing this down to two was almost impossible…Boards of Canada – Geogaddi & Bjork – Vespertine.

What artist would you most want to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson.) He works almost exclusively solo using his electric bass (decked out with MIDI triggers), computers, electronics and an array of miscellaneous instruments, but I heard he’s currently touring with drummer Alex Thomas.

What is your favourite piece of musical equipment?

The computer! You can do just about anything with them. Apart from that, I’ve always liked a well-tuned bass drum.

What is your most memorable musical experience?

When I was studying music in school, I concentrated on very new avant gard and experimental classical music. The thing with experimental music is that sometimes it’s brilliant and amazing, and other times it doesn’t work. In fact, most of the time (in my opinion) it flops. I was lucky enough to play a piece by the late 20th century composer (who also happened to be an architect and mathematician) Iannis Xenakis, entitled Persephassa. The piece was written for 6 percussionists, each with a mostly identical yet elaborate set-up. Some sections of the piece had each performer playing in a different specific tempo, so we had to perform with a click track. Other sections had thundering unison parts. The composer’s architectural background seemed very apparent to me in this piece. The structure was beautifully balanced… everything made sense with respect to what had happened just before, and what followed next. The smaller phrases within the piece were also exquisite, just by themselves. The demand of the piece was such that each player put in countless hours of individual practice, as well as dozens of grueling rehearsals, which took place over a couple months before our first performance. Bringing this piece of music to life and performing it on stage was so satisfying. It was a great combination of individual efforts, teamwork, and of course the music itself. To me, this was an ideal music experience. Some people celebrate the spontaneity in music, such as in jazz… which of course is also wonderful. However, I like to embrace the preparation that can go into a musical production…. and the fact that some music can require 10 hours of practice (or more) to perfect a 10 second phrase.

What do you love most about music?

I like that it can always be incorporated into life on lots of different levels. You can choose your level of participation depending on your mood, or personality. You can listen passively to music as you do other things. Or you can fully immerse yourself in a listening experience, committing your full attention on the smallest details. You can sing along… or dance. And then, of course, you can even make music yourself- by yourself, or with others. Not to mention the enormous variety in music itself… it’s unbelievable how much stuff is out there and how different it all is.

What do you like to do when you are not playing music?

Cook! I love food, especially Indian cuisine.

What is your favourite film of all time?

Naqoyqatsi. The whole film is just a feast for both my eyes and ears.

What part of the world would you like to travel to most?

I like nature a lot, and landscapes that haven’t been transformed too much by people. In particular, I’d like to see the Scottish Highlands. Also, I don’t think you could go wrong with a nice remote tropical beach. Especially if it has a clear freshwater lagoon fed by some little waterfalls… that would be awesome.

Teaches

  • Digital Music, Drums | Percussion
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