Justin Bunting has an active career as a percussion educator, performer, clinician, and composer. He serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His appearances include PASIC, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and PAS Days of Percussion throughout the country. He performs with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and as a member of Blue Line Duo with Cassie Bunting. BLD were recently guest artists at the PAS Colombia Day of Percussion in Armenia, Colombia. Dr. Bunting has compositions published with C. Alan Publications and Bachovich Music Publications.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Justin Bunting: When I was in junior high, I thought about going into meteorology. Music ended up winning out once I got to high school. The current answer is that I would absolutely be a chef. Though I don't often take the time to create in the kitchen the way I would like to, I consider myself pretty nerdy about food.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
JB: I am new to Little Rock as of August, but my favorite thing about the city so far is that you live in a metropolitan area, but you have easy access to nature. The city is vibrant with a strong arts presence, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and growing food scene. But, just a few minutes away, you are in nature and able to hike, bike, run, fish, kayak, etc.
R!S: What's one thing about you that your students would unanimously proclaim?
JB: My students would say that I am a treasure trove of bad jokes and puns. My wife and I are expecting our first child soon, and I guess I'm already strong with dad jokes!
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
JB: My favorite percussion instrument is crash cymbals—hand cymbals, not that I don't like drum set cymbals too! I love trying different sizes, thicknesses, weights for different applications. Cymbals often crash in the peak moments of a piece, and it amazes me how different that moment can sound based on the cymbals chosen and how they’re crashed.
R!S: Where did you grow up and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
JB: I grew up in Canton, Ohio (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame). One interesting thing that not a ton of people know is that I never learned how to ride a bike! Musically, I think it's a fun fact that I played handbells at my church for seven years while I was in middle and high school.