My Music. My Story. is one of Classical Music Indy’s initiatives to feature music, musicians, and music lovers in a fun way. This week we talked with Carl Butler, the Principal Flute for the Indiana Wind Symphony and Vice President, Legal, at Angie’s List. He talks about how important music is to him, and how it has helped him in his career as a lawyer.
Carl Butler: My Music. My Story.
What is your favorite kind of music and why?
My favorite kind of music is classical, particularly symphonies and tone poems. I love getting lost in the tonal complexities, subtle colors, and intricate rhythms that are possible with a full orchestra or symphonic band consisting of dozens of musicians and several different instruments. Exploring these opportunities while performing in a large ensemble is both fascinating and humbling.
What does music mean to you?
Music is a vital tool that can connect people despite distance, language barriers, and cultural differences. It has the ability to invoke any emotions, enrich experiences, and, without hyperbole, change lives.
How has music influenced your life?
Music has been a consistent and crucial part of each stage of my life. Growing up, I was mesmerized by my grandmother playing Chopin on her upright piano in our living room, which helped develop my passion for music and encouraged me to learn to play the flute. Music scholarships helped pay for my college education, which otherwise may not have been possible. Now that I am an adult, music is a constant source of joy, an important release from the stresses of life, and an ongoing pursuit for improvement and learning.
How has music influenced your work in the field of law?
Music school contributed profoundly to my ability to practice law. Becoming proficient at playing a musical instrument requires passion; consistent hard work and commitment; self-motivation; creativity in problem solving; the ability to focus for long periods of time without distraction; and the toughness that comes from failing, learning from your mistakes, and trying again. Playing in an ensemble requires teamwork, patience, adaptability, and putting the betterment of the whole above your own ego. These skills are also critical to being a successful lawyer—meeting the high demands of corporate clients, distilling complex facts to make persuasive arguments, and preparing for the intensity of a long trial.
What is the best part about performing for you?
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that I have, in some way, made an impact on a listener. When someone is moved, influenced, or in some way informed by my performance, it is the most exhilarating experience I can imagine.
What made you decide to study law?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that every group of people, no matter how small, eventually has to find a way to govern itself. And we have done this by inventing and cobbling together a complex system of rules and policies that we have, for the most part, trusted and respected enough to follow and uphold. This idea was a major part of my desire to study of law.
How do you think music benefits the community?
We take for granted how pervasive music is in our everyday lives. It propels us as we commute to work, shop, and clean the house. It fuels the drama and humor in our favorite movies and TV shows. Music benefits the community by enhancing all of these experiences, giving us an important outlet to express ourselves, and creating opportunities for us to learn and grow. It’s no wonder that music has been a common thread in every culture all over the world since the beginning of recorded history; it is essential for our individual and collective well-being.