Jeff Bunnell’s passion for music inspires

Jeff Bunnell performs Sonata in D by Giuseppe Torelli Thursday afternoon at the McKinney Theatre. (Janelle Green)

McKenzie Sixt

Music appreciation and applied music students received career advice from trumpeter, Jeff Bunnell, at the McKinney Theatre during Concert Hour last Thursday, hosted by Conn-Selmer Inc.

Following his performance of both a classical and then a more contemporary piece, Bunnell spoke about becoming an all-around better musician and what it takes to be a working professional freelance musician.

The concept “there’s always room for improvement” is one ritually followed by Bunnell.

“I’m always looking towards becoming a better musician,” Bunnell said. “I’m not really thinking about today, I’m thinking about tomorrow.”

Making a living in the music business for 30 years, Bunnell cautioned that professional successes such as his do not come from being a ‘good enough’ musician, but from being the best in your area of expertise. To become the best, Bunnell advised focused practice every day, hard work, determination, and patience.

Some of Bunnell’s musical success include touring with Ray Charles, playing in over 40 different musicals, and achieving monetary success with numerous studio recordings for feature films, as well as for television and radio commercials. “Up”, “Star Trek”, and “The Incredibles” are a few of his recent film accreditations. “Up” won an Oscar for best soundtrack.

Bunnell believes his insight can be applied to almost any career path in any industry desired.

“The only limitations that you will have on how good you will become on your instrument, or how far your career will go, are the limitations that you place on yourself,” Bunnell said.

Bunnell said musicians become great one step at a time. In relation to his own accomplishments, this applies to “owning” each piece of music he plays, with success in gradual improvement.

“There are ways I found to always sound great,” Bunnell said. “Find challenges and then meet them.”

During a studio recording session Bunnell must “rise to the occasion” of whatever kind of music is called for in the film.

“The [kids in school bands] don’t have to go on in music and play for a living,” Bunnell said. “But the concepts of working together and challenging themselves they learned through playing music together apply to how [they are] going to go through life.”

Jeff Bunnell gives insight on how he succeeded in his professional trumpeting career. (Janelle Green)

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