a day of realizations

Maybe this will be the last time I will ever take an audition on Friday the 13th. I am writing this from my hotel room in Charleston, West Virginia after a horrible day. The audition today is making me question whether or not this is all worth it, which is the first time I have ever seriously felt that way. After I got out of the audition, I just wanted to cry, and indeed I had to hold back tears until I was out of the building.

I was feeling fine this morning, but as I was getting ready to go to the audition site, I had this nagging feeling that today would not be a good day for me. And I was right. I’m not going to go into too much detail on the actual audition, except for the fact that I had three start-overs because I could not focus for some reason. And the funny thing was that I was completely focused about a half hour prior, it just dissolved for some reason.

I am so frustrated mostly because I have been seeing the same people at the last few auditions and the same people are making it through the prelims. Why can’t I have that same consistency????? I don’t know. It makes me extremely upset. I’ve broken down and cried several times today. Today something just broke in me and I just thought to myself I cannot keep doing this to myself. Its too stressful. I’m wasting my time and money. So I’ve made a decision. I’m going to take the President’s Own audition in January, and I will either win the job or I am going to take an extended hiatus from auditions. I just can’t do it anymore. I need a break.

Now, two months from now, I may well have changed my mind. But I don’t think that will happen. This is the first time I do not have any sense of moving forward. I don’t want to take the next audition. But I think I would regret not doing the Marine band audition, so that is why I am still planning on taking that one.

While talking to my sister this afternoon I realized how much pressure that I do put on myself in these auditions. I’m sure that is a direct cause of why I seem to spectacularly fail so much. I think a break from auditioning will give me time to: 1. get better at the clarinet, I need to focus on that instead of devoting so much time to focusing on getting better at excerpts; 2. network more, get my name and sound out there both in playing and teaching, this is something I have put minimal effort into. I think I put so much pressure on myself during auditions because I don’t have much else going on in my career. Just imagine if I were consistently gigging and teaching; obviously the pressure for me to win an audition would be much less because I wouldn’t need it so badly.

Now please note: I am not planning to take a break from clarinet. I love playing, and I look forward everyday to come home and practice. I just need a break from this constant state of preparing excerpts. I have taken a major audition every 2-3 months for the past 14 months. I just counted on my fingers….9 auditions in that time frame. I’m feeling even more mentally exhausted after thinking about that lol! I want to play more etudes, and more recital music! I think it may be fun to prepare a recital, and maybe play for friends here in Rochester before we move away and also play for my family and friends back in Colorado. Many of them haven’t heard me play in years! It may be a fun and challenging task.

Well I’m going to go to bed now. I may divulge the details of today’s audition at a later time, when I don’t feel like I’m going to break down. I really need to get some sleep, I have a long day of driving ahead of me tomorrow!

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