Another premiere band audition down. And another failed attempt. Sigh.
Just an FYI, this post includes lots of mentions of breastfeeding and pumping, which may be TMI for some of you. Hashtagsorrynotsorry.
Before I get into the audition, I just want to mention that out of all the trips that I have taken to take auditions, this was the hardest. Between the distance (by far the longest I have traveled for an audition), being away from my baby, and the fact that I had to pump breast milk every few hours made it really tiring and hard. I don’t envy moms that have to pump exclusively for their babies because they are unable to breastfeed directly. It sucks! Nursing is so much more satisfying, for me, my boobs, and my baby.
Now that I’m on this side of motherhood I realize how unaccommodating the air travel world is for breastfeeding/pumping moms. But at least they’re trying, I’ll give them that. While many airports have dedicated pumping/nursing rooms, sometimes it’s pretty clear that men or women with no breastfeeding experience set them up. Also, only LAX had the rooms in the secure area of the airport. At Reagan (DC) and in Phoenix moms have to exit the secure area to access these rooms, which is kind of ridiculous! I found myself pumping in a bathroom stall more often than not, which feels as disgusting as you might expect. The best part about that was listening to someone have explosive diarrhea in the stall next door as I was pumping in Phoenix. Yuck!
I saved all my milk on the trip out to DC and while I was there and ended up donating it to a mom in need via the Human Milk 4 Human Babies network. But I made the decision to “pump and dump” on the trip home so I didn’t have to worry about keeping milk cold or cleanliness. Although I had a refrigerator in my hotel room in D.C., there was no freezer so I was not able to refreeze my cold packs. I also had the distinct pleasure of pumping at 30,000 feet! The flight attendants were super cool about it, and let me sit in the lavatory for 20 minutes so I could have some privacy. Also, the Navy Band was extremely accommodating in my need to pump during the day of the audition which I am super grateful for. I was able to keep from getting mastitis, which was my biggest fear.
My sister was able to meet me in D.C. while I was there for the audition. She had been planning to go to NYC to apartment hunt (she and her husband are moving there from Colorado in the fall) so she decided to fly in to Washington instead and take a train up to NY. I was so glad she was there, I really needed the support. I was an emotional mess from being separated from my baby! We’re talking choking back tears every time I saw a baby! I was also thankful she was there offer words of encouragement. And to help me drink my feelings after the audition, haha.
So, the audition. Basically, it’s the same old story. Got nervous, and my fingers failed me. Again.
I completely had the intention of getting to the audition nice and early so that I wouldn’t be last like the last time. Well, that didn’t happen. I set my alarm and everything, but my body decided it was going to do its own thing. I woke up at about 4:30 am, and my left boob was super engorged and painful. My poor boobies were not used to all the constant pumping. I got my butt up and pumped for about 20 minutes and then laid back down since I had about 45 minutes until my alarm went off. I woke up at 6:45, an hour after my alarm apparently went off (which I turned off in my sleep). Oops. So I ended up getting to the audition pretty late. I wasn’t last though! I drew #28 out of 30.
The first round excerpts included the Mozart Concerto, Copland Outdoor Overture, Mendelssohn Scherzo, the first Dvorak Carneval Overture excerpt, and the march (Fillmore’s Man of the Hour). Unfortunately, I played so terribly that I only got as far as the scherzo. My reed sucked, and for some reason I played really timidly, which isn’t really my style. I did not play like myself. As soon as I heard the words “thank you” after the scherzo, I thought, “YUP”. Thank goodness the MU’s got a bye the first round. When the person running the audition pulled my group aside to announce that I was the only one who had made it through, I laughed at his choice of words. “The committee would like to hear #28 again”. No, I am fairly certain they do not! HAHA.
The second round excerpts were Brahms 3, part of the Shostakovich 5, the other Dvorak Carneval Overture excerpt, Grainger Lincolnshire Posy, and sight reading. The proctor informed me to not feel bad if the committee didn’t have me play the Grainger. Apparently they were only asking for it if they wanted to hear something specific (??). I was nervous about the Dvorak excerpt; it has a passage that is quite the “finger tangler”. Definitely not my strength! Especially under pressure.
I decided to walk in to the room with more confidence, like I owned the place. Turns out, that really works! I nailed the Brahms and the Shostakovich. I did not nail the Dvorak though. Although I made it through without falling on my face, it was not clean. I think it was because that was the only excerpt that I really wasn’t comfortable with. And it showed. But surprisingly, the committee had me move on from there to the sight reading.
The first sight reading was something very familiar! It was a march that we play all the time at work. I was super happy about that. But since I already knew it (and it wasn’t even that hard of a march) I should have played it 100% clean, and I totally didn’t. Oy. I have no idea what the second sight reading excerpt was because I didn’t get to play it because they cut me off. Between that and hacking through the Dvorak, I had a feeling right then that my day was done. And I was right. Wah waaaaahhh.
I felt really disappointed with myself. Mostly because it was the same old story as it always is. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I prepare or how well I can play the excerpts, I never play up to my potential at auditions because I get so nervous. I don’t think that the stress of the trip, jet lag, or anything like that contributed to my demise, just my body being stupid. I felt like I didn’t represent myself as a player very well, it was almost embarrassing. The fact is, I can do the job. I DO the job. But I can’t seem to prove it when it counts.
On the other hand, I am super proud of myself. I was able to bounce back from taking eight weeks off of playing after having my baby and take a major audition within three months. I also spent three whole days away from my five month old without having an emotional breakdown. If you’re a mom reading this, I’m sure you can relate! The biological attachment is super real.
Now that the audition is over, it’s really time to really get back in the game at work. I felt like I haven’t really done anything for about a year. I definitely have had to sacrifice a lot of things in my Navy career because of being pregnant or on maternity leave. But its ok! My little boy was worth it. Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of things going on now at work, and I’m ready to tackle them head on. And I’m also super excited that now I definitely have at least two more summers here in Hawaii!
One reply on “Another audition down…”
Hi Sandy. I bet you didn’t know your former teachers lurked here. LOL. I wss always a pretty cool audition taker until I had chop problems in my late 40s. After a lifetime of dependable chops I suddenly couldn’t rely on them. I became paralyzed with not just nerves, but FEAR. Small dose beta blockers helped me through that time. I never use them any more, but I have a few just in case.
They block the adrenaline response. It took away the shaking and shallow breath. Dry mouth, one of my BIG problems, was gone. And I could think clearly and respond musically just as well if not better. They helped me through a very difficult time.
Much love to you, Ben and baby Herrera.
Obviously discuss this with your doctor. My doctor at the time was a classical guitarist so he was week acquainted with them and their safe use.