Robert Barrett, DMA
Professor of Music
How did you discover Western?
Upon completing coursework for my DMA degree, I discovered a vacancy in the Music Department at Western. As I interviewed for the position, I was impressed by the small-town lifestyle in Gunnison and the comfortable temperatures in mid-summer. However, I was most impressed by the faculty and students. Each person I met seemed "down to earth," accepting of one another and supportive of each other's goals.
The position also appealed to my desires to teach lessons, music courses, direct ensembles and continue my performance ambitions in many ways. I still find these same qualities to be present today.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
Amongst many highlights in my career at Western, participating in the musical growth of so many students ranks high on my list. I've seen students with little musical background have their lives change as they gain a vision of their potential and light their own "fire" within. I've had other students come to Western with some talent and little more than a decision to become a music major, discover the career and life they didn't know they could have.
I'm still a performer. I love to include my students in performance projects. I've been told by these students that performing with me was one of the highlights of their Western experience. These performance have been highlights for me, too. I'm also proud of my students as they have performed at jazz festivals around the Western U.S. To take a group, work with them, share a vision, and see them accomplish great things and represent our school bring me great satisfaction.
What most excites you about your field?
Working with faculty and students who gain the vision of how music changes lives. Under the umbrella of my responsibilities as a professor, I love demonstrating the joy that comes from performing and writing music. When I see students inspired by my efforts, I'm thrilled and feel like I'm making a difference in their lives.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
Number one, no exception, my favorite aspect of the Gunnison Valley is the people. Whether it be faculty or students on campus or people I know in the community, my life has been actively engaged with so many that have been my friends and blessed my life to the point I'm very grateful. My wife and I have raised our four children in this valley, and thankfully things have worked out very well for all of us. As a family, we have experienced so many wonderful things in our 25 years in Gunnison.