Five People To Contact about getting More Gigs

Happy Friday! This post is a shortened and slightly altered version of a Facebook Live chat I did back in December about how I got started freelancing in New York City. It originally had over 200 views so I decided to upload it to Youtube so it lives there now 🙂

Do you find yourself wishing you were performing more? Perhaps you just graduated and you are looking to get your start in a new city. Or maybe you recently quit your teaching job to focus more on performing.  These points should be possible for you regardless of your instrument, point in your career, or location.

<< This pictures is a fun #fbf to one of my first gigs in NYC several years ago – playing with Pitch Blak Brass Band. Some of the people in that group I still play with on gigs today and I was originally put in contact with the group through one of the other trumpet players.
So, here are five people / organizations to contact that could get you more work. Hope this helps! 

Continue reading

Making Statements: An Interview With Abbie Conant

We are thrilled to have been able to conduct an interview with the fabulous Abbie Conant. Abbie famously fought the Munich Philharmonic for 11 years in court to be solo trombone and now performs groundbreaking multidisciplinary works. She has been a pleasure to work with on this interview!

About Abbie Conant

abbie clearAward-winning Performance artist and Juilliard-trained trombonist Abbie Conant is somewhat of a legend in the international orchestral brass world. The story of her epic fight and ultimate victory against egregious gender discrimination in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, where she won the position for principal trombone at a screened audition in 1980, inspired author Malcolm Gladwell to write the NY Times Bestseller, Blink, where Ms. Conant’s story is detailed in the last chapter. The 11-year-long court battle was documented by composer/musicologist/activist, William Osborne, in an article entitled “You Sound Like a Ladies’ Orchestra.” The document is supported by actual court records and experiences in the orchestra with 89 footnotes. This source document has generated countless newspaper and magazine article (Der Spiegel, {the German analog to Time Magazine}, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, etc.) as well as a documentary film, (Abbie Conant, Alone Among Men by Brenda Parkerson), a play produced at the Landestheater Linz, Austria by Award-winning British playwright, Tamssin Oglesby called, Der (eingebildeter) Frauenfeind, (The [Concieted] Misogynist) and a screen play for a feature film in the works by Canadian writer/producer Dale Wolf.

After winning her lengthy court case, Ms. Conant won a full-tenured Professorship at the University of Music in Trossingen, Germany and left the orchestra in 1993. Abbie Conant has performed instrumental music theater works with surround sound electronics in over 150 different cities around the world. She has given masterclasses in as many esteemed music institution such as The Juilliard School, The Eastman School, New England Conservatory, Yale School of Music, Indiana University, Royal Northern College of Music, the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg, Sweden, DePaul, CalArts, McGill, Oberlin and many others. In collaboration with composer/husband William Osborne, the pair has created a new genre of chamber music theater. They have produced five evening-length chamber operas for singing/acting trombonist.


1. Your story of battling sexism and discrimination in the orchestra world with the Munich Philharmonic is unbelievable, yet your strength and determination (and great playing of course!) paved the way for many discussions and policies on sexism in the brass world. Have your thoughts on that experience changed in any way? Especially in light of recent events in classical music and political culture with harassment and this kind of behavior being less tolerated in the public eye? Continue reading

Five Things I Learned About Freelancing After Having A Baby

This week’s Five Things Friday post comes to us from Philadelphia-based French horn freelancer, teacher, and community connector, Kristina Mulholland. Kristina’s is the first post of what we hope will become many on Brass Chicks which provides information for and aims to help women balancing motherhood and brass playing careers. Thanks to Kristina for sharing her experience! See the bottom of this post for Kristina’s full bio.

Kristina MulhollandI am so excited to be this week’s Five Things Friday guest contributor.  Sharing my perspective, throwing my two cents into the pot, adding more online content to this topic is so important for women who are freelancers and brass players.  You can balance family AND a brass playing career and it’s about time we celebrate!  Below I will be sharing my ideas related to freelancing and brass playing from my own new mommy angle.   My hope is that my article allows room for conversation among current brass mamas and provides avenues of support for future brass mamas out there.  

Without further adieu, the five things I learned about freelancing after having my first child:  Continue reading

Five Struggles Musicians May Face Throughout Their Careers and How to Move Past Them

Happy Friday! We know the semester is starting for those of us academics, gigs may be picking up, and regular post-holiday life is now in full swing. We hope everyone is moving along steadily towards their goals and that this post from Brass Chicks’ very own Kate Amrine can help if you find yourself in a difficult spot.

The following are five struggles that I’ve found musicians face throughout their careers. Most of these are equal-opportunity offenders, meaning they can affect you regardless or your age or experience level. Fortunately, I’ve included some info on how to move past them so feel free to share with anyone who may need to hear these messages.


1. Lack of Money

This is the most obvious problem so let’s start with it! Of course, lack of money can hit everyone at various points in their careers but is especially an issue for those of us just graduating school. Especially when not every music school provides us with skills and a concrete plan to make a living in music after graduating, it is extremely important to figure out what is best for us individually and make a plan. In addition to funding projects or music expenses we may have (starting a group, making an album, going on tour, marketing), we all have living expenses such rent, food, and student loans to reckon with.  Continue reading

Auditions, Caruso, and Music From the Heart: A Conversation with Julie Landsman

We are excited to have recently conducted an interview over the phone with the incomparable Julie Landsman! Julie was a joy to speak with and offered, unsurprisingly, a wealth of advice and information informed by her career.

About Julie Landsman


Principal horn with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 25 years, Julie Landsman is a distinguished performing artist and educator. She achieved her dream of becoming principal of the MET in 1985 and held that position until 2010, and has served as a member of the Juilliard faculty since 1989.

Landsman is a current member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and has performed and recorded with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Additionally, she has performed as co-principal with the Houston Symphony, as substitute principal with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and recently with The Philadelphia Orchestra as associate principal, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as principal.

Her students hold positions in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Washington National Opera Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and the American Brass Quintet. She recently received the “Pioneer Award” from the International Women’s Brass Conference and was a featured artist at the International Horn Society Conference in 2012 and 2015. Her recent series of Carmine Caruso lessons on YouTube have led to further fame and renown among today’s generation of horn players. Landsman currently resides in Nyack, New York.



Brass Chicks: Your career has been incredible and has taken you all over the world. What was the process of winning your position at the MET and becoming the first woman in the brass section of that orchestra like?

Julie Landsman: Winning an audition at the MET was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The audition was 100% behind a screen – anonymous – and it’s documented in a very famous book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. The last chapter describes the details of  my audition. The men who voted for me had no idea who I was or that I would become the first female brass member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Continue reading

Five Things to Help You Build Your Private Teaching Studio

Gabe-201webGabe Mueller is a freelance trombonist and music educator based in St. Louis, Missouri.  A graduate of the University of North Texas, Gabe earned a Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance in 2008.  Since returning home to St. Louis in 2012, she has enjoyed being a part of the local music scene (currently performing in a variety of groups including the St. Louis Low Brass Collective and funk band Hazard to Ya Booty) and has a bustling private low brass studio.  She will be releasing her new album, “Solos for the Beginner and Intermediate Trombonist,” later this month.

Find out more about Gabe online at or on Facebook and Instagram @gabemuellertrombone

I first started teaching private trombone lessons when I was in college in Texas.  I only had a few students, and they were passed on to me by a friend of mine who didn’t have any more room in his studio.  But when I moved back to my hometown (St. Louis), I knew that teaching private lessons would be an important aspect of my music career and that I needed more than just a handful of students.  I also knew that I had no idea how to acquire said students!

I started building my current low brass studio 5 years ago.  The first few years I worked hard at recruiting to build my studio, but it paid off big time.  At this point I do very little “recruiting” but regularly receive emails and phone calls from parents of prospective new students.  Though my studio is pretty full, things are always changing and it is nice to have a steady flow of new student inquiries.

There are many things you can do to build your own private studio, but here are five suggestions I have. Some may make you say “duh” and some may make you say “are you crazy?!” but they have all played a part in building (and maintaining) my studio.

1. Offer Free Masterclasses

This is by far the number one piece of advice I would give to anyone wanting to start or build their private studio.  Offer to do free masterclasses at schools.  The point of these masterclasses are to meet potential new students and have them see you in person and get an idea of who you are and how you teach, but also (and more importantly) to start building relationships with band directors.  For me, this was crucial in building and maintaining my studio, but I’ll get to more of that later.  Continue reading