Post Marine audition thoughts…

So today I played the last audition that I will probably do for awhile. It seems weird, my brain is asking, “ok, what’s next?”, but then I realize that there is no next thing. I think I’m ready to play clarinet for myself for awhile. I’m just so tired of the mental bashing that I put myself through every time. Getting though the prelims before in auditions has been a blessing and a curse at the same time, because now I do expect a lot more of myself. I’m always thinking “I’ve gotten through before, there is no reason that I can’t this time”, which seems to have a negative effect (or affect…? English majors help!) on me for some weird reason.

I think that taking a break for a few months will help clear my senses and also give me time to get better as a clarinetist and musician. Basically I haven’t had a span of more than a couple months without having to drill excerpts into my brain since the start of my 2nd year at Eastman, which was fall of 2008. I’m looking forward to practicing for the purpose of musical advancement, instead of the purpose of execution.

The audition today went fairly well. In general, I think my reed was too heavy. Whoops. I was expecting the room to be extremely live (because that’s the general impression that I got from the staff working the audition) but it wasn’t as live as I thought when I got in there, so my reed probably sounded pretty tubby. Expecially for the Gounoud excerpt, which was alllllllllll articulation (think Mendelssohn scherzo times 5000, lol!). I only played Mozart concerto, the Gounoud, and Brahms 3 in the preliminary round. I think that is the max they had people play because of time constraints (I think there were over 100 people that showed up to this audition…yikes!!!), so I really wasn’t worried that they didn’t like my playing. My mozart was really good (well, to me it was hehe!), my Gounoud was way better than I ever anticipated it going (that was the ONE excerpt that I didn’t want them to ask for, lol), and my Brahms was pretty good, but probably a little boring.

Even though I was extremely pleased with how I played, I did not make it through to the next round. Here is why: my reed was too heavy, like I said before, and my Brahms was boring. Yes, I played it fine, in tune with matched timbre over the break, but it was definitely lacking the WOW factor and color that I know I can and have brought to that excerpt. I was really nervous and shaky at that point, I could even feel my breath shaking and it really was affecting my tone. I am sure that is why I didn’t advance. But I did the best I could, I cannot ask for more than that from myself.

Since there were so many people at this audition, I think the judging panel was being extremely picky on who they advanced. If they didn’t think “wowza”, you didn’t advance. I was #37, and they had only advanced a couple people so far. In fact, no one from my group or the group before advanced! When I heard that I thought, no wonder I didn’t advance; they are looking for the people who are totally on their game!! I was probably 80-90% on my game, and that just wasn’t good enough today. I’m hoping that the next few months I can work on my audition mentality, I tend to sabatoge myself…I had a little bit of that today with the Brahms.

But overall, it was a positive experience. I feel much better playing very well and not advancing than playing shitty and not advancing. There is a huge difference in my emotional state! Last audition I was crying in the parking lot, and this time I’m just shrugging my shoulders and looking forward to a fun touristy day tomorrow in Washington DC!

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