Five Fifth Symphonies

Ariana Photo

For this week’s Five Things Friday, we are pleased to welcome Ariana Douglas! Ariana, a horn player, is a graduate student and freelance musician in Toronto. Thanks to Ariana for listing her five favorite fifth symphonies for us! 

NB: Recordings selected by the Brass Chicks team

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Five Ways to Keep Your Chops in Shape After College

This post from tubist Genevieve Blesch has some great tips on how to keep your playing up after graduating and even features a bonus Five things to cover in each practice session.

Genevieve Blesch is a freelance tuba performer and educator in the tri-state area. After spending her freshman year at The Ohio State University studying with James Akins, she received her bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in tuba performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she studied with Alan Baer. Genevieve frequently performs with orchestras, quintets, school ensembles and marching/pep bands. Noteworthy clients include The Pennington School and Patriot Brass Ensemble. Genevieve teaches private and small group lessons in central New Jersey. Orchestras that Genevieve has performed with include Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Nova and Gateway Classical Music Society. Outside of music, Genevieve teaches Japanese and pursues her interest in technology.

Thanks Genevieve for sharing your thoughts with the Brass Chicks community!  Continue reading

Five Things I’ve Learned about Working in a Male Dominated Profession

Alia Kuhnert pic'15.jpgAlia Kuhnert began playing trumpet at age ten in her home town of San Francisco, going onto  major in trumpet at the San Francisco School of the Arts High School. Alia attended the Summer Brass Institute in ’12 and ’13. As a fellow she collaborated with Joseph Alessi, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic, Øystein Baadsvik, international tuba soloist, and Thomas Hooten, principal trumpet of Los Angeles Philharmonic. Alia is a graduate of the New England Conservatory where she majored in Trumpet Performance and performed with NEC’s Philharmonia, Wind Ensembles, Opera, Jazz and Chamber Orchestras. Committed to education, Alia teaches trumpet at the Harmony Program, a program whose mission is to reach underserved communities in New York City public schools. She is the trumpet faculty at Cazadero Music Camp in California. Her principal teachers include Catherine Murtagh, Michael Sachs, principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra, Ben Wright of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tom Siders of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Kevin Cobb of the American Brass Quintet. Alia is currently pursuing her MM and DMA in trumpet performance at Stony Brook University, studying with Kevin Cobb.

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Five Habits Musicians Should Practice Daily – Michelle Bingheim

This week’s Five Things Friday reveals a new perspective in the Brass Chicks community – featuring a post from Michelle Bingheim, a trumpet player and music therapy student, on five habits we should all practice every day.


Michelle Bingheim is currently a senior at Western Illinois University. Michelle comes from a musical family and developed a love for music at a young age.  She began her music study with piano, but the trumpet eventually won her over.  Michelle continues to study trumpet and participate in ensembles while earning her degree in music therapy.  She enjoys performing with a variety of ensembles and has developed a special love for playing in brass ensembles/bands.  Michelle plans to become a board certified music therapist upon graduation and serve clients in a special education setting while still pursuing her love of playing trumpet. Outside of music, Michelle enjoys consuming coffee, binge-watching Netflix, spending time with her family, being active at her church, and giving back to her community.

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Five Tips for Contemporary Chamber Music-Making: Amanda Ross

This week’s Five Things Friday is from trumpeter Amanda Ross, on her experiences with her contemporary chamber ensemble, Girlnoise. Thanks to Amanda for sharing her thoughts with us!

Amanda Performs with her chamber ensemble, Girlnoise

Girlnoise is an mixed chamber ensemble specializing in contemporary music and improvisation. Founded in 2015 in Ann Arbor, MI Girlnoise has collaborated with several local composers and musicians and has performed at UMMA, Canterbury House, and University of Michigan’s School of Music. In January 2017 Girlnoise held its first collective gathering, Meditation on Water, to help raise awareness for the Flint Water Crisis. As well as playing trumpet and arranging for Girlnoise, Amanda Ross is a doctoral student in trumpet at the University of Michigan. Continue reading

Five Things To Keep in Mind as a Music Student

We are very excited to feature Bri Ihasz – a french horn student with some great things for all of us to keep in mind about music.


Bri Ihasz is currently a junior studying Horn Performance and the University of Michigan. The daughter of two musicians, Ihasz grew up surrounded by music in a small town south of Buffalo, NY. She absolutely loves the Michigan School of Music, but she’s also involved in other activities, such as being a part of the marketing team for a local independent record label and being a sister of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She hopes to one day move to LA and either find work playing in lab orchestras or working for record labels.

Thanks, Bri, for sharing your thoughts with the Brass Chicks community!

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5 resources for audition season – Kate Amrine 9/1

We are approaching the beginning of the semester and the beginning of the freelancing season! I hope you have all had a great summer and are now gearing up for something exciting this year. Maybe that might include an audition! Here are five resources that might be helpful to you this year and beyond throughout your audition path – whether it is a school placement audition or your first orchestral audition.

1. Bulletproof MusicianI know this website has been mentioned before on Brass Chicks but Noa Kageyama does a great job at outlining many helpful tips related to performance anxiety, music, and mindset. This article includes tips for future auditions related to your preparation beforehand.

2. Audition Hacker – This is a great website that addresses many aspects of audition preparation – from practicing tips to concerns about what happens during the audition. Check out the articles here.

3. Crushing Classical Podcast featuring Denise Tryon – Denise Tryon (former Fourth Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra) is a master of the low horn and orchestra auditions. This interview describes her audition path and includes several helpful tips! Denise Tryon also runs an audition workshop to help students prepare with mock auditions, masterclasses, lectures and more. Check that out also!

4. Angela Beeching’s blog. Angela’s blog is so incredibly helpful on a wide range of topics including performing, speaking, marketing, and networking. Since the earlier points in this post are more about the physical aspects of playing and how/what to prepare, I knew a post on how to boost productivity would be super helpful to make sure we all stay on track in our preparation.

5. Find out what it’s like on the other side of the table — the panel! If you know someone in the organization, you might be able to find out an extra tip or two about what they could be looking for. Set up a mock audition with friends and alternate who is on the panel taking notes. You will learn SO much from being on the other side of it. Here’s a very interesting interview featuring Maxine Kwok-Adams – 1st violinist (I know, I know…this is Brass Chicks) in the London Symphony Orchestra. This interview with Maxine describes what it is like from her point of view on the panel – everything from what they may be looking for, common mistakes, and other tips.

Happy practicing and audition preparation 🙂 Got any other good audition tips? Reach out to us on our Facebook page and let us know. We would love to hear from you!

Five Things Friday – format and news

We are very happy here at Brass Chicks to be celebrating 6 weeks of  Five Things Fridays! We have had six different Five Things Friday posts so far that have been helpful, eye-opening, and inspiring. Thank you so much to our guest Brass Chick bloggers and our readers! We cannot wait to see what comes next 🙂

Submissions are coming in fast but we do still have openings for mid October thru the rest of the year. Please  do not hesitate to reach out to us at or on our Facebook page if you would like to write a post for the future!

New to Brass Chicks or still unsure exactly what a Five Things Friday post entails?

Five Things Friday is a weekly series where the writer states 5 things that are important, interesting, or helpful to her. These can be 5 things learned, 5 things you love, 5 examples of xyz, or anything else that gets you excited! We love this format because it allows ANYONE to write a post regardless of experience level or background. Examples include: 5 favorite trumpet players, 5 recordings that changed your life, 5 things you learned in your time at school– the possibilities are endless.

In terms of format – we don’t have a length limit set for each of the Five Things but please check out previous posts for an idea. If you are interested in writing a post, reach out to us with a Friday in mind, and then your post will be due to us the Monday beforehand. We will also post your photo, a bio under 250 words, and any links you may want to share.
We hope to hear from you soon and thanks for being a part of the Brass Chicks community!

Five Favorite Practice Strategies – Melissa Hagstedt 8/25

Super excited to share another great productive and helpful Friday post – this one from trombonist Melissa Hagstedt.


Melissa is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School,  and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Music Performance at New York University. While at UNCSA she studied with John Ilika. At UNCSA she performed frequently with the Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Trombone Choir and Wind Ensemble. Prior to her time at UNCSA, she was a member of the 2013 National Association for Music Education’s All Nation Concert Band. Currently she is studying with Dr. Per Brevig and plays in various ensembles throughout the NYC area such as the NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Brass Choir, and the NYU Brass Trio. She has had experience as a pit orchestra musician in the productions Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni, Ballad of a Baby Doe and Pirates of Penzance with both the Blue Hill Troupe, Utopia Opera Company and Vocal Productions NYC.

Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your practice strategies with the Brass Chicks community!

Here are my five favorite practice strategies. Each of these practice strategies have been personal breakthroughs which I feel have helped me make great strides in becoming a better player. I hope that you will try some of these out to see if they work for you!

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