Five Things Friday – Rebecca Epstein-Boley, 7/28

I’m excited to write Brass Chicks’ second-ever Five Things Friday! Because I have struggled a lot over the years with performance anxiety, I have had to work to find functional solutions. In this post, I will share five of my favorites. I hope they will help other musicians as much as they have helped me!

1. Breathe Deeply

The number one thing that helps me with nerves is controlled breathing. Slow, mindful breathing exercises. Not only does deep breathing release stress-inhibiting neurohormones, it also reminds me how my air should feel when I play.

2. Perform Before you Perform

The only real way to practice for a performance situation is by performing. I like to play for people as much as possible, in order to make myself more comfortable doing it. Even playing an excerpt or two for family (or a pet!) can help.

3. Wear Flats

Disclaimer: I see other badass women wearing heels and performing wonderfully all the time. Their work is amazing and hugely impressive.
Personally, though, I don’t ever wear shoes with high heels. To me, they’re just another sexist way to keep women uncomfortable. Even if I did wear them, though, I would never wear heels and then stand to perform! At a time when I already feel shaky and posture is crucial, unstable shoes are the last thing I need. My concert oxfords are my best friends.

4. Eat a Banana

I’m not sure if the “bananas combat performance anxiety” thing is true, but the placebo effect is real. You can’t argue with results! I like to have a banana about 45 minutes to an hour before a big performance.

[via http://www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=78575]

5. Have a Plan

My biggest anxiety symptom is that my mind wanders in performance and I become easily distracted. When I have a detailed plan for every note, bar, and phrase in a piece, I can focus on that instead of the kids talking in the audience or what I’ll eat for dinner.

Five Things Friday – Kate Amrine 7/21

I am so excited to create the Brass Chicks community and have the opportunity to showcase incredible stories and musicians. In addition to guest posts and interviews, there will be a variety of other posts – some themed and some not.

Announcing our new series called Five Things Friday!

This new series of posts will allow for many other guests to contribute and highlight their own individual perspectives. The list format is also a little different than our other posts so it may be easier to catch up with Brass Chicks related news on the go!

For this first Five Things Friday post – I wanted to share 5 reasons that I am happy to be involved in the Brass Chicks community and why this project is so important.

1. Awareness

I am currently on tour with an orchestra in Japan and on our flight the other trumpet player and I realized one of our flight attendants just started learning trumpet in Japan. We invited her to our concert and she said she would try to attend. Here is a picture we took together:

IMG_6128She told us that her teacher in Japan told her that due to her body structure and gender that lip slurs and other techniques would be very challenging for her. This was unbelievably shocking to hear for many reasons and we were quick to inform her that this wasn’t accurate information. She was surprised to learn that there are so many female brass players who are doing incredible things and hopefully this gave her a different perspective moving forward. This blog is for her and anyone else who may be in a situation where exposure to these powerful perspectives from women in the brass community can be extremely transformative.

2. Network

Even though I live in NYC (the center of the universe 😃) I realize that there are many other perspectives and stories worth sharing from all parts of the world. We can learn so much from everyone and I hope that Brass Chicks can be helpful in facilitating this process. So far Brass Chicks has been viewed in over 10 countries which is unbelievably exciting!

3. Inspiration

When I was younger, I didn’t realize how many inspiring women brass players were out in the world doing incredible things. I didn’t realize how many different ways there were to make a living as a musician. I hope that Brass Chicks can provide some inspiration to younger musicians – at a time when it can be most valuable.

4. News

There are a few other organizations that are great for brass related news – and our monthly theme is after all, the International Women’s Brass Conference, so we are very thankful for this organization and others. We hope that we can provide a space for updates and announcements in the women’s brass community – everything from upcoming CD releases to performances and more. If you have news to share – please reach out to us! We will post a monthly news update and we would love to feature your project.

5. Passion

I love bringing people together – especially those with like-minded interests. It is an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of Brass Chicks and create content to benefit the women’s brass community. I feel so lucky to interview some of my favorite people and feature them on our site. I hope that through Brass Chicks we can continue to positively impact the women’s brass community and create a more diverse and supportive musical environment.