• Students playing trumpets in concert band
  • Fine Arts building sign

Faculty & Staff

James Payne

James Payne

Professor, Brass
Music & Performing Arts
(308) 865-8606

Dr. James F. (Jim) Payne is a Professor of Music and the Coordinator of Instrumental Studies. Involved with music since 1953, he first studied the piano, and then took up the trumpet in the sixth grade in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in instrumental music education from University of North Texas, he pursued post-graduate study at the School of Music at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he received a Master of Education in Music. In 1980, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance from the College of Music at University of North Texas. He has studied with John Haynie, William Pfund, Dennis Schneider, and David Hickman. He was elected to the Graduate Faculty of Kearney State College in 1981 and the University of Nebraska in 1993.

Dr. Payne has played the trumpet professionally in nine symphony orchestras and as a soloist in seven midwestern states. He has been the guest soloist in many churches and with high school and college bands on numerous occasions and has toured as featured soloist with the University of Nebraska Kearney Symphonic Band and the Jazz Rock Ensemble. He made over twenty appearances as a soloist on KOLN/KGIN television’s “Morning Show” in 1982-83 and performed at the 1981, 1994, 1998, and 2004 International Trumpet Guild Conferences. He has performed in concert at nine Nebraska Music Educators Conventions and has appeared in over one thousand public performances. Dr. Payne directs, performs with, and arranges music for Platte River Jazz, a jazz sextet.

Beginning his trumpet teaching in Dallas, Texas in 1967, Dr. Payne was awarded graduate assistantships in trumpet at the University of Missouri and University of North Texas. Before coming to UNK in 1974, he taught at Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas. He serves as a clinician and adjudicator in brass instruments, jazz, and concert bands. He has published a number of journal articles on trumpet pedagogy and written a textbook, Brass Instruments: A Practical Manual for Players and Teachers. At present, Dr. Payne teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in applied trumpet and French horn, brass pedagogy, conducting, music business, music technology and software, jazz, rock, and blues history, and jazz band techniques. He also conducts the UNK Jazz Rock Ensemble, an 18-piece big band, directs the Music Business Degree Program, and oversees the UNK Honor Band and Choral Clinic, which serves over 700 high school music students each January. Dr. Payne is a member of the International Trumpet Guild, as well as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Pi Kappa Lambda music honoraries. He is past president of the National Association of Music Merchants Affiliated Music Business Institutions, a past board member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association, and a past board member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 777.

In the community, Dr. Payne serves New Life Assembly Church as a worship leader, trumpet soloist, keyboardist, and music arranger. He is also past president of the Kearney High School Band Parents.