I did it! I finally have a clarinet job! Its not what I had planned or had anticipated. I had always envisioned myself playing in an orchestra or a D.C. band (or the Coast Guard band!!). But over the course of the last year, I have discovered that it doesn’t matter who I’m playing for or what I’m playing. I just want to play. It took a whole year of working 40 hours a week in a non-musical job for me to realize how important music was in my life. I was starting to get depressed about my life and musical career. I just wasn’t going anywhere, and I felt like I was doomed to be working 8-5 in an office forever. I was getting frustrated with auditions and the fact that I wasn’t winning any of them. I was also getting frustrated that I couldn’t get enough students to earn a full time income (or at least enough make more than I make at the U of R). To do this I needed to have 10-20 students per week. That entails only 10 hours of teaching per week. That sounded nice so I did a lot of advertising around the entire Rochester area, but only got one student out of it. Suck. So I was pretty down on myself. Then enter the Navy and my best friend Nina!! She’s the one who made me aware of this opportunity. And I decided it had to be fate and pursued it fully! And I figured, playing marches and patriotic music is WAY better than answering the phone and scheduling MRI and CT scans all day. LOL!
Now fast forward 2 1/2 months to now, and last night I rocked my official audition! It was a much different audition than I’m used to, or what most classical musicians are used to! I played for a retired Navy bandmaster who also played trombone for the D.C. band for a period of time who lives in the Rochester area. There was no screen, no excerpts, and it was only him listening to me play. He invited me to his home in Hilton, NY
to play my audition. His house was right on the lake! It was very beautiful. Anyway, he had everything set up in a large empty room (he said they were just finishing up their addition, and this was to be their new master suite), with hardwood floors. Can we say…LIVE?! Holy cow, I think my reverb lasted 5 minutes LOL. It took
some time to get used to, he had me start with the Weber 2, 3rd movement, but after about 5 measures I had to stop and start over…the reverb was shocking! In my audition experiences, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with stopping and starting over if you are sucking from the very beginning – as long as you play it 100 times better the 2nd time. I’m glad I did, because
I played it so much better the 2nd take. I played the entire movement, and I started to really enjoy the acoustics of the room. It was just so shocking at first because I practice in such a dead space. He had me play the last page again (all the crazy sextuplets, clarinetists know what I’m talking about!!), because he wanted to watch my fingers, LOL! Trombone players!
Next he had me play scales (I had also prepared the Copland Concerto, but I don’t think he was
interested in that. Fine by me! I looove that piece, but it wasn’t quite as solid as the Weber). He had me play major scales in a weird pattern, I played it ok, but he stopped me halfway through because he thought I was thinking about it too much. He also said that it was probably unfair for him to ask me to do that, since I wasn’t a jazz person. Ha! Anyway, he then asked me to play a whole bunch of minor scales in various versions, which I totally owned. All that practicing paid off. Screw you G# melodic minor, take that!!!!!
Next portion was the sight reading. He gave me a packet of music, and asked me to play selections from it. It started out really easy, but then got harder as we progressed, ending with several marches. The marches were the normal tiny scores that were hard to read, which presented quite a challenge. But I think I did alright. At the end, he told me I was a “good” sight
reader, but not quite a “great” sight reader. What he meant by that is that I usually get it right the 2nd time, but not necessarily the 1st time. Well I could have told him that!! Well regardless, it was good enough for him to offer me a job!
I just want to mention that I played the audition on a Rico reed!!! Never thought that would ever happen, but I have fallen in love with the Rico Grand Concert Select Thick Blanks, 5 strength. Sorry Vandoren, its not economical when only ONE out of all 10 in a box plays well. It doesn’t matter if that reed plays like gold, I still would rather have more reeds that play audition quality. So basically this is how I feel about the reed situation:
So now I will be working with my recruiter to get all the paperwork done to get enlisted. And hopefully in a few months (or less) I will be going off to boot camp! (gulp) But I’m just happy that I am finally going to have a career in music. And I will finally be getting out of Rochester! Now I just have to break the news to my bosses…not sure how that’s going to go!