Happy Women’s History Month!

*sheepishly pokes her head into her blog* *grins sideways*

Hey, there, old blog old friend! Guess what! I saw an amazing concert last night. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be creating original content in March based around celebrating women in brass history and brass present…I’ve just been so…busy. I’m so sorry. Can I tell you about the concert? It’s relevant, I swear. Yes? Ok!

Last night I had the pure joy and soul-sustaining honor to attend tenThing, a 10-piece, all female Norwegian brass ensemble spearheaded by trumpet virtuoso Tine (pronounced “Tina”) Thing (“Ting”) Helseth. The concert was held at Aria in the North Loop and presented by the Schubert Club.

It was so glorious. Their artistry, movement, collaboration, and joy were palpable from the back of the hall, and they didn’t shy away from anything (and why would they?), softs, louds, or otherwise. I started crying before they even finished coming onto the stage. This is an ensemble that uses all the colors in their vast palates to create pure music. Their program wasn’t particularly out there- lots of “standard” rep like suites from Carmen, West Side Story, and piano works from Mozart, Grieg, and Copland- but the arrangements were fresh and tailor-made to their style and grace.

(If you don’t believe me, check out the review in the Star Tribune)

This should come as no surprise, but my favorite section was the four masterful trombonists. They displayed absolute ease with all of the fast licks and pianos and brought golden fortes worthy of a major symphony performance, perfectly balanced in tone and in tune. The flugelhorn player and the hornist were also highlights- they interacted with one another often to express smiles over the music the group was creating, and of course Tine herself sparkled and danced. Her solo over Piazzola’s “Oblivion” was a highlight for me.

So there you have it. Go check out Tine, tenThing, and all the ladies bringing women-power to the brass world. The future is bright, my friends. Happy Women’s History Month. Let’s make some future.

January Update

I have a hot second here before spring semester really kicks into gear and I disappear under the weight of ‘getting a DMA’, so I thought I’d give you a few insights into what’s new in my world.

Yesterday I presented and performed at the BrassChix annual seminar, in the company of music greats like Takako Seimiya Senn, Melissa Williams, and Gail Williams, and it was, as always, an absolute joy to be a part of it. I had 11 trombonists in my session and loved working with one of them on her orchestral excerpts.

On January 9th, I performed selections from my 1st Doctoral Recital at St Louis Park Senior High School, to an audience of about 25 band students. They were a great audience and I hope to be back soon!

In upcoming news, I’ve scheduled my next recital for April 3rd at UMN and will be performing a program of diverse works, including the Nino Rota Concerto, Dutilleux’s Choral, Cadence, et Fugato, Barbara York’s A Caged Bird, the Wagenseil Alto Trombone Concerto, and John Kenny’s Fanfare. Stay tuned for more details. It will be live-streamed again.

My students are gearing up for solo/ensemble contest and All-State auditions, and a few are starting to think about college auditions. I’m so impressed the steps many of them took over winter break to practice and improve in all areas.

Keep an eye on this space for news from Brass Lassie, The Satellites, and Mill City Five. They all still exist- just hibernating, I promise!

Upcoming Presentations!

Two really exciting things in January:


My performance at St Louis Park Senior HS, featuring selections from my December 2016 doctoral recital, is presented in part by the generous contributors to my Studio Scholarship Campaign. As you recall, the fund exceeded its goal and I allocated $300 to presenting clinics and performances in local schools. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to use this money, and if you’d like a performance at your school, please reach out to me!

At the end of January, BrassChix soars again! This is my 4th (or 5th?) year presenting for BC and I’m so excited for this year’s theme: How LOW Can You Go? We’ll be focusing on our sisters of low brass and the lowest notes from every horn.

All the info: BrassChix 2017


2016: A Round-up Review!

Well, 2016 is coming to a close, as all years do, and it’s been one of the most professionally exciting and challenging years yet! It was one of the most diverse years for types of gigs, music learned, and students taught. Here’s a little recap of what 2016 looked like for me:

Performance Highlights:

January: BrassChix presentation to 12 delightful young women trombonists plus a performance of the first movement of Red Dragonfly; performing Stravinsky’s Octet with Winona Chamber Winds

February: “Lunch With…” in Sundin Hall at Hamline, a 30 minute recital for the community; auditioning for the doctoral program at the U of Mn

March: Exultate Choir and Orchestra’s performance of their signature pasticchio mass; Easter services at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in S Mpls,

April: Sitting in with the Hamline Wind Ensemble on bass trombone

May: Conducting and performing with the Hamline Brass Choir; The Satellites played the Dakota and 612Brew; Metro Brass presented “Hold On Tight” at the Capri Theatre in N Mpls

June: Something like a month off? Ha!

July: Brass Lassie at the Minnesota Scottish Fair; The Satellites at the Icehouse; Mill City Five at Como Pavillon

August:  Mill City Five at Minnehaha Falls and Bistro La Roux in Circle Pines; The Satellites back at Icehouse

September: My first performance with the UMN Wind Ensemble!

October: UMN Collage Concert, playing with both Trombone Choir and U Symphony Orchestra

November: Brass Lassie at Celtic Junction; UMN Trombone Choir feature recital; USO performance of concerto competition winners; Minnehaha Repertory Orchestra’s yearly concert

December: Holiday concerts with the UMN Trombone Choir, bass bone in the Hamline Wind Ensemble again; Holiday Polka with Brass Barn Polka Band at Bauhaus Brew Labs; Christmas services at St John the Baptist in New Brighton; and of course, my first doctoral recital!

Teaching Highlights: 

I taught over 800 individual lessons this year to 30 different individuals, helping them win spots in All-State bands, local honor groups like GTCYS and Minnesota Junior Winds, preparing them for solo and ensemble performances, and overall enjoying their company and growth as astonishing young musicians and people. I’m incredibly proud to have raised of $3000 in scholarship funds to allow low-income students to take lessons for a year. I continued my work at Hamline University and took on a new collegiate job at Century College in White Bear Lake.

Personal Highlights: 

I traveled to NYC, San Diego, Lutsen MN, St Louis, Iowa, and Chicago. I saw good friends and met amazing new folks. I hiked, kayaked, camped, and stewarded my gorgeous state’s natural resources. I biked all over Minneapolis and St Paul. I started my doctorate while balancing a full freelancing and educational career.

What’s in store for 2017?

The plan is to keep rocking it out. Brass Lassie, The Satellites, and Mill City Five all have more to come. My second doctoral recital is currently on the schedule for April 17th. I’ll present at BrassChix again in January and will also perform portions of my recital for the kids of St Louis Park. I have big ideas and big plans for both my teaching and my art, so stay tuned. 🙂


A message for my students

My dearest students,

Well, we’ve reached the end of the election cycle, a particularly nasty and divisive one as these things go, and I know that even though most of you are not old enough to vote that it can still be tremendously emotionally consuming to experience.

No matter where we all fall on the political spectrum, whether we are happy this week or sad, I want you to know that I am proud of you, and I am so impressed by your generation and your spirit. I don’t believe for one second all the think pieces that come out saying derogatory things about your age group. I know better. I see young folks who have smart, considerate, and progressive things to say, who look out for their friends and family, who take risks and work hard and engage in their communities. I see you making music, and I am so incredibly privileged to be your teacher.

We have some work to do to make the two halves of our country get back on speaking terms. I’m sorry this mess gets passed along to you, but I want you to know that I will always have your best interests in mind, I will always make music with you. Anyone who wants to learn and create art is always welcome in my studio.

Let’s get back to work.

Your dedicated teacher,


All the News from this End

Hey all,

Here’s a little round-up (!) of all the things I’m working on these days so you don’t think I’ve disappeared into school and will never come out.

  1. Life at the U: I’m settling into being a doctoral student. My routine of practice, lessons, performances, and classes is pretty exhausting, but I’m managing to keep a good handle on everything. My first of five doctoral recitals will be Dec 12 at 3:35 in Ultan Recital Hall.
  2. Life as a teacher: My students give me so much life. This year they’re working smarter than ever, and making enormous strides in their sound and musicality. Highlights: Julia plays in GTCYS’s Camerata Orchestra, Henry O and Owen are both in their second year with Minnesota Junior Winds, and Alex B started music studies at Century College (and got me the job teaching him through their program!).
  3. Life as a performer: My regular activities in groups have been pretty quiet lately, and I hope that will change soon. The Satellites are waiting for our stellar singer Rhianon to recover quickly from some minor medical procedures and Mill City Five is just looking for the next gig. The big news is that Brass Lassie is back and will be playing a feature concert at Celtic Junction on November 5!
  4. Life as a non-musician: I snuck out last weekend and got in a little camping. I’m enjoying this bright fall days and hope for many more weeks of bike riding weather. I’ll be visiting Chicago over the Oct 21st weekend to see my good friend Matt perform with his trio at the Constellation Club and can’t wait for the trip!

That’s life as I know it right now. Hope to see you at Brass Lassie Nov 5th!


I still have room in my scholarship budget for new students. If you are a low brass player who couldn’t otherwise afford lessons without financial assistance, but feel you would benefit from them, please visit my Scholarship Application page for details.