Jordan College of Fine Arts
School of Music

Music & More Alumni Stories

Jennifer Bougher ‘00, Music & Double Major
Jennifer Bougher '00 was always going to be a lawyer. Of that, she was certain. But she'd grown up playing music and wanted to continue playing music at a high level in college. So she chose Butler. ~ Read more.

Jennifer Bougher"At the time, I could not envision my life without music," Bougher said. "Music was a significant part of my identity growing up. Although I knew I didn't want to make it my career, it would remain a part of my life and I wanted to continue my music education. I had been trained by excellent instructors and surrounded by very skilled peers to that point in life, and I was not interested in downgrading to a place where the music education program was anything less than outstanding.

"Yet most of the top music programs do not allow you to participate unless you intend to make music your full-time career. Butler was a clear exception, offering a top-notch music school alongside its highly regarded liberal arts college and affording qualified students the opportunity to fully participate in both."

Bougher double majored in English and music (violin performance). During her years at Butler, she played with the Butler Symphony Orchestra, flute and piccolo in the Marching and Basketball Bands-and once played violin during an Earth, Wind & Fire medley while marching on the field during the halftime show at a homecoming football game. (David McCullough, the Director of University Bands, clipped a microphone to her violin, she remembered with a laugh).

She got the opportunity to travel with the Basketball Band during tournament season, and even toured England performing with the Butler Symphony Orchestra.

Bougher fulfilled her career plan: She graduated from law school and is now an attorney practicing commercial litigation at a major national law firm in New York City. At the same time, she has performed with the Lawyers' Orchestra in New York.

"As a violinist, you have to be comfortable onstage performing well under pressure with all eyes on you," she said. "As a litigator, I am perfectly comfortable standing up in court, making an argument in front of a judge, jury and clients, and making a pitch or a presentation. I think that skill is similar, even though it looks a little different."

David Platt ‘13, Music & Education
In five years at Butler, David Platt ’13 took advantage of everything the School of Music had to offer. And that, he said, has made all the difference. ~ Read more.

David Platt"Butler gave me amazing opportunities to pursue whatever I wanted," he said. "I know if I'd gone to any other music school, I wouldn't have been able to branch out so much and I wouldn't have had the same kind of support."

Platt, who's now in a master's program in orchestral conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, one of the leading conservatories in the United States, was a music education major at Butler. And he played and studied violin with professors Lisa Brooks, Davis Brooks, and Larry Shapiro. Platt performed frequently in solo recitals, with chamber groups, and the Butler Symphony Orchestra. And he studied music theory, music history, and composition "so that I could be better qualified to teach those subjects someday, or just to supplement my education."

On top of that, he took some conducting lessons with professors Stanley DeRusha, Richard Auldon Clark, and Eric Stark, "all of whom gave different insights into different areas of conducting that I still use every day here," he said.

"Looking at the undergrads at this conservatory, I'm thankful I had such a rich and diverse education from Butler University," Platt said. "Having that kind of training stretched my mind a lot more."

Platt had been interested in music from early childhood. He remembers being about 5 and going to a high school orchestra concert in which his brother played cello.

"I saw the violin section," he said, "and I was enthralled."

For a year, he begged his parents for a violin. When he was 6, they relented. He found his own violin teacher and his music career began. He played in his high school orchestra and in the New World Youth Orchestra before coming to Butler.

In Cleveland, Platt is one of four students in the school studying to be an orchestra conductor. He is learning more about managing the orchestra, rehearsal technique, score study, and expression, among other things.

He said he's thankful for all he learned at Butler.

"I can't emphasize enough," he said, "how many great opportunities Butler gave me."