Danny Burt

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I spend a significant amount of time thinking about personality traits. I read books about people I admire and I take notes of the people I interact with—both the great and the not so great. While doing this, I have attempted to create a mental hierarchy of personal qualities. I have deduced that the greatest of qualities can be summarized as being genuine.

Danny is exactly that, he is genuine: he is empathetic, compassionate, and cordial. He will greet you with a warm smile and a firm handshake, and he will give you his undivided attention.

Danny credits his attributes to his family. He grew up in Idaho with 3 older sisters, one older brother and his parents. Danny describes his dad as “being a quiet person, but not a weak person. He is very determined and even-tempered.” Danny further said of his dad, “he is very orderly, he can just sit down and do what ever needs to be done without a second thought. And I’m not, I really admire that in my dad, but I am more like my mom, scattered brained and creative.”

Danny further admires his dad as a “strong introvert. He has a very good way with people. He’s done such a good job learning to have meaningful conversations with people. He really cares about them. He does especially well one on one and with small groups.”

Danny’s mom has a passion for music, she is an operatic singer and voice instructor. He described his mom as being a Type A personality, “she was so passionate about music that each kid had to take piano lessons and they couldn’t stop until they were 18 years old, period. It was impossible to win that one. Her love of music was infectious.” She influenced me, “in drive and passion.” Danny’s mom completed a Master’s in music while he was young, and has recently completed a PhD in the same field.

While in grade school, Danny was somewhat introverted. He had a few friends at school, but kept mostly to himself. He didn’t quit fit in, “I wasn’t really bullied, but I didn’t fit in too much. It wasn’t terrible. I wouldn’t say I had abusive friendships, but it wasn’t the most fun thing for me to be with my friends.” Danny in part accredited those experiences to his passion for music, “At about age 10 or 11 I started to realize that I loved this music thing that had been given to me. I had been practicing out of duty, and it had been fun at times. Then I realized there was something to this. Then I started piano lessons with Mark.”

Outside of his family, Mark was one Danny’s greatest influences. Mark was a once renowned pianist in New York where during a show he made a blunder. His critics put pressure on him so he decided to return to his home in Blackfoot, Idaho where he took on Danny and other top performers as students.

Danny spoke kind things about Mark. He explained how Mark taught him more than just music theory and more than just how to play the piano, “We really connected on a deep level through music. He is the one who taught me musicianship, which is apart from learning the skills of the piano. He taught me how music breaths and lives. It went way beyond learning when to crescendo and decrescendo,” he taught me how, “to make art of the music. I was able to communicate through it as a result.”

Danny has continued his passion for music, he is now majoring in Trombone Performance at Brigham Young University with a focus on Jazz performance. I have attended several of his performances and it is clear that Danny loves performing. After graduating from BYU he plans on attending graduate school. I was unaware until Danny explained it to me, that is almost necessary to get a graduate degree to qualify to play in a symphony or any other top performing role.

Danny’s plans for the future are admirable. His passion for music is his motivation to work towards becoming a world class performer, and his passion for education has lead him to work towards a future partnership with his brother in creating a school of music. He feels that his ability to be creative will allow him the opportunity to reform how music is taught at the university level, while promoting a better environment for students. Danny believes that music has the ability to solve social problems too and hopes to use his talents to improve the lives of others. Some of his ideas include urban music projects for youth where children can earn their musical instruments through giving of what they have, their time.

Danny has the the demeanor of a natural leader, and though it may appear natural, he assures me it is a skill he has had to develop. “I have always cared about people, but I wasn’t very outgoing in middle school and early high school. There was a point where I decided I wanted to be able to talk to anybody and not worry what they think.” The most crucial part in that development was while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, “A man named Matt Beacher was an amazing person. There was a presence about him that was so engaging and so caring. No one disliked him, you could not. He wasn’t trying, he just loved people so much. He was the most engaging person I met. I started to try to be exactly like that; I realized very quickly that wasn’t going to work for me. I discovered there were certain things about him that I wanted to do and I could find my own brand of that.” Danny said that he then worked on adopting those traits which included caring for others and not being shy.

Danny said of his personal strengths, “I try to be thoughtful about whatever issue comes up, I try to examine the whole situation. Whether that’s learning something that disrupts my paradigm academically or even religiously, but also with people.” He would like to be known as, “the friend that people know they can trust. I want to be a trusting dad too. I want to a do a lot of big things; I really want to make a big a difference in the world. But the most important thing for me is more personal stuff. Number one would be a good husband and dad, a good son and brother. After that, I would love to be known as someone who did good in the world, someone who helped solved problems in the world. I would like to be known as an artist.”

Danny is an exceptional person, his most selfish quality is striving to reach his full potential in life, and that is so he may more fully serve his fellow beings. I am grateful for the influence he has had in my life.

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