In Bands, Experiential Learning, Students

Brass performance student Ann Bateman shares how an experiential learning opportunity has enhanced her time at BYU

The International Women’s Brass Conference celebrated female brass players. (Courtesy of Ann Bateman)

I had the opportunity to attend the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) at Arizona State University this year through the School of Music. The IWBC is a conference that brings women and men together to celebrate and support female brass players from around the world. Honestly, the only reason I registered for this conference was for the trumpet competition on the first day of the conference, but I gained so much more from unexpected workshops and concerts throughout the week. 

First off, I love that the IWBC traditionally starts off with the first “missed note” of the conference — a trombone player got up on stage and played an awful note at the start of the conference on purpose. This was done to take away the anxiety of being the first one to miss a note at the conference because someone already messed up! No one is perfect at performing, and this first “missed note” reaffirmed this truth that we so often forget.

Over the course of the conference, I was able to take classes on subjects I had little knowledge about: yoga specifically for brass players, a scientific theory about music mimicking a mother’s voice and the struggles of being a female brass player in a male-dominated field.  This conference was full of women sharing unique experiences, research and insight about music. 

The International Women’s Brass Conference featured all-female ensembles. (Courtesy of Ann Bateman)

I attended concerts that featured all-female ensembles like the Athena Brass Band, I heard women play innovative trumpet music along to electronic tracks and I met some of the most famous brass players alive today, like Carole Dawn Reinhart and Susan Slaughter. These women are part of the reason that I even have the opportunity to play the trumpet professionally. During one of the concerts I attended, time was set aside to award handmade quilts to female brass players that served in the armed forces. I was just in awe of the love and support that was so freely given at this conference to celebrate women.

I had no idea that this conference would be so enriching and empowering for me. I have never attended anything so inclusive and celebratory of women in the brass field. I feel more prepared as a musician for my future career because of this learning experience; I learned more about womanhood being a part of musicianship, instead of something separate.

The publication of student articles allows the College of Fine Arts and Communications to highlight the experiential learning opportunities and behind-the-scenes experiences of students and faculty and tell stories with a unique voice and point of view. Submit your story at

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