About BrassChix

BrassChix began in 2009 as a gathering of female brass players from high school and college students through adults, to spend a day of playing and discussing music, sharing ideas and enjoying the cameraderie of playing a brass instrument. 

The Mission of BrassChix is to encourage female-identifying, non-binary, transgender and gender non-conforming students and adults who play a brass instrument. BrassChix forums aim to cultivate a network of peers and mentors among this cohort of brass players, through activities designed to engage participant’s music making and conversations about the rewards of playing a brass instrument.

What's New?

The Brass Bodies study is a cutting-edge research project led by Sarah Schmalenberger, PhD (Musicology) and Hornist, and Patricia L. Maddox, PhD (Sociology), at the University of St. Thomas. Based in an understanding that “female brass players are both an underrepresented and under-researched group in music,” the study investigates both the physical and social experiences of female, transgender and non-binary individuals who play brass instruments. Brass Chicks recently interviewed the team behind the Brass Bodies study.

BrassChix Co-Founders

Sarah Schmalenberger teaches courses in music history and literature, as well as studio French horn at St. Thomas. Currently, Dr. Schmalenberger is engaged with the Brass Bodies Study on female-identifying brass musicians and she has published essays on the emerging data from the study. Dr. Schmalenberger also maintains an active schedule as a freelance hornist. She recently served as a guest soloist and clinician at the Hornswoggle Horn Workshop in Jemez Springs, NM, and she led an all-female horn ensemble performance at the 50th anniversary conference of the International Horn Society An enthusiastic improvisor, Dr. Schmalenberger enjoys playing in and directing the Swing Sisterhood Big Band.



Kara Bradshaw is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. She earned a Bachelors of Music from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas. Outside of her responsibilities in marketing, communications and enrollment, Kara is also a freelance horn player. 

Photo of BrassChix co-founders, Sarah Schmalenberger and Kara Bradshaw

 Sarah & Kara