Interview with Hana Beloglavec

DSC_3893-Edit1.jpgPerformer and pedagogue Hana Beloglavec has always had an interest in chamber music. Currently she is a member of Seraph Brass, a dynamic chamber ensemble drawing from a roster of highly talented women across the United States. With Seraph Brass, Beloglavec has recorded an album, Asteria, and has been a guest artist at the Lieksa Brass Week and the International Women’s Brass Festival. Also interested in trombone quartet chamber music, she competed in the finals of the 2014 International Trombone Quartet Competition with the Lakeside Quartet. She also was a member of The Handsome Dan’s Trombone Quartet, which won the 2013 Eastern Trombone Workshop’s Trombone Quartet Competition as well as the 2013 Yale Woolsey Concerto Competition.

Also deeply interested in orchestral music, Beloglavec has performed as a substitute trombonist most recently with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. While living in Chicago, Beloglavec performed as a substitute with the early-music ensemble Music of the Baroque and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Hana Beloglavec received her DMA from Northwestern University, where she studied with Michael Mulcahy, Douglas Wright, Timothy Higgins, Randall Hawes, and Christopher Davis. She completed her MM at Yale University and her BM degree at Western Michigan University, where she studied with Scott Hartman and Steve Wolfinbarger, respectively. Hana Beloglavec is currently the assistant professor of trombone at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

1.  How long have you been teaching? What are your responsibilities at the school? What do you love about teaching? Any favorite teaching moments?

I have been teaching private lessons for a long time (since I was an undergraduate student, maybe even earlier), but I have been teaching at the university level for the past three years. At LSU, I teach applied tenor and bass trombone students, trombone studio class, and trombone choir. I also coach brass quintets and teach the trombone portion of a brass pedagogy class for performance majors and masters students. Outside of my teaching, I serve on committees and recruit students, and I have my “research,” which includes performances with Seraph Brass, personal solo recitals, orchestral performances, etc. 

I really love when a student turns something around and “gets” a concept and/or starts to make improvement in an aspect of their playing or musicianship that has previously not worked. Favorite teaching moments: when my students learn to love using their metronomes as much as I do!

2. What is it like to be a part of Seraph Brass, a touring ensemble that presents concerts and teaches masterclasses?  Tell us about your experience. Do you have anything exciting coming up with the group or on your own?

Seraph Brass is a really interesting group to be a part of. I have learned a lot about how chamber groups work. It is crazy how much work goes into booking concerts, booking flights, figuring out hotels – Mary Bowden does an amazing job! One of my favorite parts of the group is playing a concert for many different audiences – you never know how an audience will react or what they will enjoy night to night, and it is fun feeding off of their energy – plus, I will never forget an audience member who used binoculars in the front row – you do you, lady!

Coming up this summer, we are going back to Lieksa Brass Week. I am very excited – Finland was amazing last summer and I’m really looking forward to going back. There is a restaurant in Lieksa called Pizza Master that is totally calling my name! Aside from the food – I am also looking forward to sauna-ing again, and playing a concert in a “mine lagoon.”

3. Do you think we have a specific role or responsibility as female brass players? How do you incorporate that (or not) into your own life as a musician?

As a brass player, perhaps not. My job as a brass player is to create the best music I can – I don’t feel that I need to make statements about being a woman in the brass world during concerts. As long as I play with integrity and quality, that is enough to show that female brass players are just as good. I feel that my responsibility is heavier as a female university professor. I have contact with many students during a time of their lives where they are becoming adults and figuring out their own values – I try to guide students toward being their best selves, and have no qualms speaking up if I hear something that is not right toward women (or anyone for that matter).

4. Do you see any specific challenges for musicians in today’s climate? How do you mitigate those on your own and for your students?

I think it’s tough to work for your true value right now. Many people ask students to play for free or “experience,” and I try to make sure that students evaluate if a free gig is worth it to them. This is our livelihood and we need to defend it, but at the same time many people don’t understand that, and it’s important to have open communication with others. You can’t always get what you want, but you definitely can’t get something you don’t ask for. Be polite, and be honest. And (most importantly) – wait a day before sending that angry (edited!!!) email.

5. Is there anything you wished you had known as a student or young professional that you know now? Any advice that you’d like to share with younger female musicians?

When I was in college I used to think “I can’t wait until I am good enough that I don’t have to practice anymore.” I’m not sure where I got that idea, but I wish I knew sooner practicing wasn’t going to end, and that’s okay!

My advice for you younger female musicians:

  1. Work really hard and get your craft to the highest level you can.
  2. If you receive criticism, be open and consider its merits.
  3. Find a balance between being humble and being confident – check in with yourself from time to time and see if you’re in equilibrium.

6. Any resources you recommend? Books, podcasts, recordings that changed your life etc.

I think one of the biggest things that has changed my life is bullet journaling – It has helped me become far more organized than I was even with a planner (now I use both!). You can check out information about it here: I just use a moleskine notebook. It’s great for planning both short-term and long-term goals, which I would miss out from a regular day planner. Plus it is awesome always having a notebook with me for random thoughts, shopping lists, etc (with an index page to refer back to later!). I highly recommend it!



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