Five Things I Learned After School

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Stephanie Hollander is an active freelancer in the NY Metro-Area. She recently collaborated with indie-pop singer Giselle Bellas on her new album “Not Ready to Grow Up” where she can be heard on the single “Canary”.  She has performed with many distinguished groups such as; Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Rocktopia, Patriot Brass, The South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony, Bard Conducting Institute, Washing Heights Chamber Orchestra, Bach Festival Orchestra, Vermont Mozart Festival, Albany Symphony, Newburgh Symphony and numerous others. In 2017 she was principal horn for the North East tour of the distinguished pop Italian group, Il Volo.

 Ms. Hollander holds a B.M from the University of Cincinnati, CCM, and a M.M from the Eastman School of Music where she was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship. She also holds an Artist Performers Certificate from Bard College Conservatory and a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music as a recipient of the 2016-2017 Richard E. Adams Scholarship. Her teachers have included; Barbara Currie, Javier Gandara, Randy Gardner, Peter Kurau, Jeffrey Lang and Julia Pilant.

 Currently, Ms. Hollander is on faculty at the Dutchess Community College Community School and Hartwick University and has been a guest speaker for the SUNY Purchase horn studio, on the topic of, “Graduation, now what”.

In Ms. Hollander’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, she is fluent in Spanish, loves salsa dancing, biking and snuggling with her three beautiful cats.  Continue reading

Interview with Tiffany Hoffer

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Staff Sergeant Tiffany Hoffer earned a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. Prior to joining The U.S. Army Field Band in 2016, SSG Hoffer was an active freelancer in New York City, performing with various ensembles such as the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Richmond County Orchestra, and the Patriot Brass Ensemble. She has attended music festivals around the country, including Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival, Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, and the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute. She has also been a semi-finalist several times in the National Trumpet Competition’s high school, undergraduate, and graduate solo divisions. SSG Hoffer’s primary teachers include Vincent Penzarella, John Rommel, and her own father, Gil Hoffer.


1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. What group are you in? How long have you been in it?  Continue reading

5 Things I’ve Learned While Traveling with My Trumpets

We are pleased to welcome trumpeter Katie Clark as this week’s Five Things Friday guest writer!

KatieClarkWhen I first set out on my trumpet travels this fall, I was asked if I would like to write a piece for “5 Things Friday” on Brass Chicks about what I’ve learned or discovered while curating my own education this year.

I’ve been blogging about my travels, trumpet, and being gluten free on my blog, Katie’s Trumpet Travels (katiestrumpettravels.wordpress.com), so feel free to find out more about me and my story there!

I voluntarily withdrew from my doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia last spring to attend the University of Toronto’s Master of Teaching program. However, after attending Chosenvale: The Center for Advanced Musical Studies in June, I realized that I needed to make the trumpet my career; I love it. So I was unsatisfied with my doctoral program, no longer wished to attend teachers college, and was forced to come up with a plan. I’ve always said that studying abroad would be a dream come true, but I was hesitant to spend two to four years abroad as I am very comfortable living in Canada and wish to work there one day. For some reason, I did not see it as a road block to spend one year abroad. I guess when you’re determined to make something happen, it happens.

I then decided that I didn’t need a school. I had spent the past seven years in music schools and really just wanted to expand my trumpet technique and proficiency. I needed teachers. I then considered the many teachers that I’ve met throughout the past few years whom I’ve learned a lot from and drafted out a travel plan. In doing this, I was also lucky to stumble across the news of a conservatory needing an extra trumpet performer for a concert in March and found a base point for my European adventure. Considering I was not going to be a full time student, I had a lot of free time to schedule lessons and other classes across Europe during my time abroad. I was also very lucky to have a friend who was taking a gap year between her undergraduate and graduate degrees join me on this adventure because travelling with someone is a lot more fun than travelling alone.

Anyways, too much rambling! I am now five weeks into my seven weeks of trumpet travel in Europe, am a contract student at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag, and have learned many new things about trumpet, travel, and myself that I will attempt to organize into a clear list. Please note that these are the most valuable things that I have picked up while travelling and curating my own education and that they may be different for you!  Continue reading

Interview with Adrienne Doctor

Kate originally met Adrienne on a gig in the DC area and it was so great to hear from her in this interview. Adrienne has been doing great things in the DMV area and we are so excited to feature her here with the Brass Chicks community.

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Adrienne Doctor is a trumpet player residing in the Washington DC area where she is a member of a premier military band. An active freelance musician and teacher, she has performed with Monarch Brass, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond IN Symphony Orchestra, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. She has given masterclasses at Duquesne University, Columbus State University, the University of Maryland, and various high schools around the country. Doctor has performed as a soloist at the Music For All National Summer Symposium, with the Seven Hills Sinfonietta, and the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. She attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in 2010 and 2011 and the Bar Harbor Brass Institute in 2013. Her primary teachers include Philip Collins, Alan Siebert, and Roger Sherman. She resides in northern Virginia with her husband and two cats.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. What group are you in?

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Five Things I Learned While Making My First Album

Alright – I’ve been saving this post for a little while but now it is officially time since my album came out this week on Tuesday November 7th. Throughout the whole process of making my album, I have learned so much while making “As I Am” and a lot of people have asked me great questions about  the process so I thought it would be great to organize my thoughts into a blog post.

First: for those of you that don’t know me too well: here is a super quick background 🙂 A little over a year ago, I wanted to pick some rep for a recital and found a couple great pieces by women composers. Rather than doing another recital, I knew that I would be graduating with my Masters in May and I thought that an album featuring music by women composers would be a great thing to graduate with…. so here we are! I commissioned about half of the composers featured on the album and found the rest of the pieces on my own. I also crowdfunded about 80% of the costs for the album which was unbelievably helpful. The album would not have been possible without those contributions so if you were one of the 150+ people who helped make the album possible, thank you so much!!

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Here’s a formal description:

As I Am is my debut album featuring new music for trumpet by women composers. This album includes a wide range of contemporary trumpet playing, from lyrical melodic lines to improvisation to extended techniques. The album includes music for solo trumpet, flugelhorn, trumpet with electronics, trumpet and piano, trumpet + electronics + harp, and flute + violin. As I Am presents music by Alexandra Gardner, Ariel Marx. Jennifer Higdon, Jessica Rudman, Jinhee Han, Ledah Finck, Nicole Piunno, and Kate Amrine.  Continue reading

An Interview with Alaina Alster

We are so excited to start featuring interviews from members of military groups across the country! Our first interview is with trombonist Alaina Alster who is a member of the West Point Band here in New York. Thank you Alaina for sharing your time and thoughts with the Brass Chicks community!

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Trombonist Alaina Alster has been a member of the West Point Band since 2013.

Prior to joining the West Point Band, Alaina was an active freelance musician in New York City where she enjoyed a career performing a wide range of musical genres.  She is also a music educator and has worked as a teaching artist for the Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children, as well as a private music instructor.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Alaina began playing the trombone at the age of nine, but shortly after beginning switched to Euphonium.  When she turned twelve she picked up trombone again and began pursing both instruments.  In 2002 she was accepted  to the University of Michigan as a double major in trombone and euphonium performance where she studied with David Jackson and Fritz Kaenzig.  Alaina received her Masters in trombone performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2010 and studied with Stephen Norrell.


1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. What group are you in? 

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Five Books Every Entrepreunerial Musician Should Read

This post is from pianist Eunbi Kim‘s own blog and yes, it is our first honorary Brass Chick guest post (Eunbi plays the piano). We saw her post and just thought it was so relevant to the Brass Chicks Community so we had to repost it and share it with you. 


Next to music, reading and books have been a great passion of mine, and I’ve been a serious reader my whole life. They provided a huge escape for me while I was growing up. My favorite writers are Haruki Murakami, Junot Diaz, Banana Yoshimoto, Julia Alvarez, Wally Lamb, and Margaret Atwood. Stories and books have the ability to expand our humanity and raise our consciousness. I also read a ton of business and music business books, and I’ve listed below some of my favorites (not in any order).

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