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Barbara Butler: “There Is Room for All Great Players, Don’t Be Afraid to Go for It”


Barbara Butler’s journey with the trumpet started at age 8, choosing the cornet after struggling with piano. Driven by solo competitions and scholarships, she realized her love for performing during summers at the Interlochen music camp. Notable influences include Dr. David Kennedy, Vincent Cichowicz, and Adolph Herseth. She won Principal Trumpet with the Grant Park Symphony and Co-Principal Trumpet with the Vancouver Symphony before becoming Professor of Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music.

Butler values diverse musical inspirations, learning from Maurice Andre, Helmut Wobisch, Wynton Marsalis, Håkan Hardenberger, Heifetz, Phil Smith, and others. Daily practice routines focus on air, vibration, tone, and flexibility. A restful approach, both timed and category rests, aids in effective practice.

She advises thorough score study before playing new pieces, emphasizing musical and harmonic analysis. Teaching methods vary, prioritizing health and musicianship, encouraging independence. While not teaching jazz, she supports students exploring natural trumpet. Choosing mouthpieces and trumpets involves personal preferences, prioritizing sound, range, and articulation.

Her advice for students and teachers includes immediate attention to musicianship and intonation, listening to great performers, developing a unique sound, and embracing preparation for auditions. Butler believes in using performance anxiety as energy and emphasizes over-preparation.

Barbara Butler’s musical preferences include orchestral, baroque, vocal, and rock genres. Identifying with Bud Herseth and favoring composers like Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven, her favorite piece to perform is anything by Bach.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music