Ben Proctor is a musical pilgrim living in Rochester, New York. He works as a performer, teacher of guitar and rock history for Fairport Central School District, instructor and ensemble director at the Kanack School of Music, and private teacher of guitar, voice, banjo, dobro, and mandolin. His current project is acclaimed bluegrass/Americana band The Crooked North. He has many annoying habits, like constantly playing instruments and singing children's melodies in odd meters. Ben likes to write songs and believes that teaching music is a high art.
Mr. Proctor graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2009, receiving a Master's degree in Music Education and New York State teacher certification in music. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Ethnomusicology at SUNY Geneseo in 2005 with highest honors. As an idependent musician, Ben has performed in concert halls such as the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and Kilbourne Hall, international bluegrass and jazz festivals, and legendary rock venues such as CBGBs. As an educator, he has published teaching tools, given seminars, and been a guest teaching artist. He dreams of one day having a really cool nickname and a family band with everyone in corny matching outfits. The family band is underway, although the two youngest children are still not strong enough to support the weight of most bluegrass instruments. But that does not prevent them from trying.
Ben grew up in a Connecticut swamp where he dreamt of becoming a famous jazz musician. He played with jazz, blues, gospel, rock, and klezmer groups for a few years in Connecticut (including the Afro-Semitic Experience) before moving to New York City, where he postponed finishing college for the third time. With a lot of time on his hands and needing to support his annoying habits, he built websites, acted in off-Broadway theater, and performed with country, blues, and rock and roll bands. After years of musical soul-searching, he found his passion singing and playing American traditional music. He brought this passion to Western New York to finish college and begin his career as a musician, music teacher, and advocate for participation in social music traditions. His long-term goal is to inspire everyone to learn a musical instrument that they can play in kitchens and on porches with their friends and families.
Above photo by Stephen Reardon