Case Study #1

The person I chose is no longer living, so contacting them was a bit… impossible. But, I did find some information about his career that I found intriguing.

            My case study covers the career of Adolph  “Bud” Herseth, one of the most accredited trumpet players of the 20thcentury. Along with a very polished career, Bud stood out in many ways as the very best in the craft, and is still highly regarded as such. Serving for 52 seasons performing Principal Trumpet for the Chicago Symphony, Bud’s career is unlike many that attempt a solid career in the performance field. While this career path may not sound exhilarating, as it involves one orchestra for a very extended period of time, it is absolutely stunning to know that he held his position with the Chicago Symphony for as long as he did. 

Bud’s father was a bandleader in the Lake Park, MN area, and around the age of seven, Bud began learning trumpet. After only a year, Bud was invited to play trumpet in his father’s band. After years of studying trumpet, Bud attended the New Conservatory of Music where learned to perfect his craft. By 1948, Bud was the Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony where he stayed for the remainder of his career.[1]


            As I said, the career path is not exactly fascinating, but it does offer some wonderment on how exactly someone could be that good of a musician and not be put on the chopping block after a short tenure like in most professional orchestras today. This reason, and this reason alone is why I chose Adolph Herseth: he was an unstoppable force of trumpet perfection, and he is the definitive figure that all orchestral trumpeters look to for inspiration. 

            Personally, I feel that Bud’s accomplishments in his career are very attainable and that I am absolutely on the right path to achieving the success he once had. When I’ve completed graduate school, I intend to audition for any opportunity that presents itself. Without taking risks, where would I go besides back into a practice room wishing I had done something with my future? My career goal is not to isolate myself into one area of the world and hope for the best, because realistically I don’t think the industry is willing to hold onto a performer for more than ten to fifteen years at any given time. It’s time to act quickly and be ready for any punch that’s thrown in my direction, because life is crazy and so much can happen at any given time. 

            After making a breakthrough into the professional performing career in a smaller, lesser-known orchestra, I will take some time, learn as much as I can, and earn performance experience in the industry. Once I feel I am ready and the timing works out, I will take the leap of faith for a larger, better-paying orchestra. The true end goal, so to say, is to be a member of the Boston, New York, or Chicago symphony orchestras, and I know that path to success is a long and winding road to those ensembles. 

            While my career path does not line up with that of the Great, Late, Adolph “Bud” Herseth, he is a role model of mine that I look to for inspiration when I feel the white walls of the practice room closing around me. 

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