Pat Hurley is a composer and instructor at Butler University.
What exactly is your day job?
I’m the music/ audio director and composer for The Sanders Group. We do video, CD-Rom and live events for corporate and educational clients. We also produce a lot of our own programs.
What is your background in music?
I was a music major in college, and then I spent 12 years as a full-time musician; various bands, being on the road, questionable recording and publishing deals, etc. A lot of guys could tell the same story. For the last 20 years, I have written and produced for TV, radio, video, advertising. You wind up doing a lot of different things.
Do you enjoy teaching at Butler?
Yes, very much. It keeps me from becoming old and jaded. I teach audio production and audio for video.
After sitting in on one of your classes, it’s obvious that you have an interesting and unique dynamic with your students. How would you describe your classes?
Thank you. I teach real world fundamentals. If you are fundamentally strong, then as the gear changes, which it does, you can still do a good job. It’s only a matter of learning new gears. I encourage them to develop their ears and bring some creativity to everything they do. I try to keep it fun, too.
And your philosophy on teaching?
The kids are the clients. Deliver value. Do more than they expect. I think with subjects that are fun and interest the students, if they don’t understand it, or they’re bored, or they’re skipping class, it’s probably the teacher’s fault.
Has working professionally in varied corners of the technical side of the music had an effect on how you recreationally feel about music?
I’ve always realized how difficult it is to compose, perform and record music that connects with millions of people. Or to do anything at an elite level for that matter. Remember, it’s the minor league ball player who best appreciates Barry Bonds. The Salieris know exactly how good the Mozarts are.