I’ve been kind of avoiding writing a blog about my audition on Monday, but I have come to the conclusion the few people who read my blog are probably waiting to hear details about it! The experience was…normal. It was a pretty standard audition, and I played well. Now, I pride myself in having a thick skin when it comes to auditioning – there is a lot of rejection involved with pursuing a musical career. Unfortunately, my emotional reaction to this audition was far worse than usual. Normally when I don’t advance, I’m sad the day of, and then by the next day I’m totally over it. But its Thursday, and I still don’t feel over it. In fact, I almost started crying yesterday when I was telling a co-worker about the audition. WTF? I think the hype leading up to the audition directly affected how I reacted to the bad outcome. To date, I have taken…1…2…*counting on fingers*…15 auditions for various orchestras/military bands – I think this is the first one where my goal 100% was to win the job (as opposed to just going for the experience). I knew I wouldn’t be happy with anything but that at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever taken an audition so seriously and worked so hard for it, and I was certainly the most prepared I’ve ever been.
Anyway, the first round excerpts consisted of Mozart Expo, Gounoud ballet, Beethoven 4, and the first two strains of the Fillmore march. I played everything pretty well, and they actually let me go through all the excerpts. Last time I auditioned for the Navy Band they didn’t let be go through the prelim list. They did cut me off after measure 98 in the Mozart, but I think that was for time purposes, not necessarily because they thought I sucked. Based on my observations, and the reaction of the proctor, I really thought they were going to let me through to the next round. But…they didn’t.
After thinking about it for a couple days, I think the reason that I didn’t get advanced is that my playing wasn’t 100% perfection. I let my nerves get the best of me (as usual), and I did have a couple bobbles here and there. Very minor, but noticeable enough. Also, I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my reed. I think the combination of my nerves and a less than perfect reed was what kept me from advancing. I warmed up next to the girl who I am pretty sure won the audition, and she sounded amazing. I know I can sound like that, but I didn’t when it counted, unfortunately. I also had to remind myself that I was competing against people who have time to practice 4-6 hours a day. Not that I want make that an excuse, but it is a fact that I simply don’t have that sort of time. But based on what I heard in the warm up room, I think I was still near the top of the pack, which is encouraging. There were quite a few honkers!
It was frustrating to know that I got cut, because I had worked so hard. In the moment, I felt like all my hard work was for nothing! Of course I realize now that it wasn’t for nothing – I did learned a lot in this audition. I truly realized how important it was to have a great reed, and also that I need to do something about my nerves! I also am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and I am on my way to accepting that it just wasn’t my time yet. Maybe I’m not ready to be in such a prestigious ensemble. I’ll still be able to audition next time they have an opening available! The only difference is that I will be in uniform.
So what’s next for me? Not much. I think I’m going to go back to basics and work on scale technique and my sound for a few months before I leave for boot camp. Yesterday I actually practiced for two hours! Not because I felt like I had to, but because I truly wanted to! I actually had other things that I needed to do, so I had to stop myself – I probably could have gone on for another two hours. I worked on a Rose etude, some Bach, and also worked a little bit on Libby Larsen Dancing solo. It was so fun! Reminded me why I love playing clarinet! My goal for the next few months is to improve my sound and air with lyrical music and etudes. Also, I’m going to try to devote more time to reed working. I’m going to start with an hour per week, and see if that helps my sound at all.
The moral of the story is that it just wasn’t my time yet. Yes, the prospect of being an E-6 out of boot camp was so tantalizing, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to be in the ensemble yet. Maybe by the time they have another opening I will be, and it will be my day.