Student trumpeter cashing in on his music

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

Senior Harmon Byerly has played the trumpet for seven years, and began recording commercially late in his sophomore year. He plans to continue playing music in college and later as a career.

Senior Harmon Byerly isn’t trying to toot his own horn, but he is making a bit of money off it.

Byerly is a trumpeter who is making money off his playing. He records his playing and works with companies that are willing to pay him for his skills.  He started recording late his sophomore year, thanks to his private teacher, and has been recording ever since.

“I started by doing some jobs that my teacher helped me with,” Byerly said. “Then I did some other jobs with local musicals, like the Sycamore Summer Symposium.”

Byerly works with more than just musicals. Local businesses, such as Kings Island, reach out to him as well, and he records parts for their commercials. 

“I’ve played a lot of those for recordings because they want someone cheap to play it, and obviously I’m not getting the same amount of money as most professionals,” Byerly said. “So I’ll be taking the 5th or 6th trumpet parts on those commercials.” 

When he first started, it took Byerly hours to perfect even short recordings. As time progressed, he said he has gotten more confident, and now it doesn’t take him long at all.

“I’ve had one where it was a 10 second commercial for a local car dealership, but I was so scared because it was my first job,” Byerly said. “I spent a solid two hours just recording this 10-second little snippet and eventually went with one of the takes I got about 45 minutes in. But nowadays, I had a job where I was asked to do a 30-second commercial and I took about 6 takes. That took about 20 minutes just to make sure that the sound was right.”

While Byerly does get paid for his recordings, that is not the sole reason he does it. He plans to pursue a career in music, and his recordings enable him to spread his passion to a wider audience.

 “I think it’s really interesting to entertain a crowd by doing a good quality show or by displaying your emotions to a crowd by sharing what you love with them,” Byerly said. “You’re hoping that you’re showing them how much you love music or make them love music with how much you are displaying your passion.”

Photo by Scott Reckers