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Music Performance Grad Ashley Rands on Her Trombone Performance Journey

Rands Will Graduate in April of 2023 With a BA in Music Performance: Brass

Photo by Emma Olson/ External Relations

Ashley Rands, a BYU graduate who majored in music performance, will be performing at Convocation on Apr. 28. Like many BYU students, Rands started her musical career at a young age by playing the piano, but after joining a school band in fourth grade and using her dad’s trombone, she immediately fell in love with the instrument.

She is grateful to both her middle school band director and her first private lessons teacher for their support and for showing her the beauty of the trombone.

Rands may love the trombone, but she admitted she used to struggle with performance anxiety. Being a music performance major required her to perform in front of people frequently, and while it was difficult at first, she was able to find ways to overcome it.

“...The most helpful thing was to just keep playing in front of an audience,” Rands said. “I started volunteering to play for events and my peers until it didn't seem like such a big deal. I still get nervous, but I feel much more in control and comfortable now.”

Rands has been involved in various concerts and coursework that have allowed her to gain experience as a musician and grow closer to her peers. She traveled to Italy, the Czech Republic and Austria last summer as part of a tour with the BYU Chamber Orchestra, which was life-changing.

“That experience brought me much closer to a lot of my fellow performers. Two weeks of travel and performing was such a fun and memorable experience for us,” said Rands. “I have been lucky to be in such a tight-knit program at BYU.”

One of Rands' favorite projects she has worked on in her time at BYU is her Honors thesis. She chose to extensively research commonly requested trombone solos in graduate trombone auditions and ranked them by frequency, which aided her in her own auditions and may help other teachers and auditioners.

Rands plans to perform in a full-time orchestra in the future. She enjoys the repertoire of large orchestras and wants to share her passion with even larger audiences.

“Playing the trombone has always just felt natural, and I can’t imagine what I would be doing now if I weren’t pursuing it,” Rands said.