This is the audition season coming up in the fall and winter. Major changes will be revealed in musicians’ lives depending on the results. Start now. Here are some ideas:
Remember that a major US coach for auditions has said that the way the audition material is structured today is rigged in favor of a body type which you may or may not be, a body type which has a lot of fast twitch fibers that can do really picky orchestral excerpts or fast technical playing of other types. He was talking about violin, but this holds true across the board, technique is king. This technique, intonation and rhythm, must get you in the door. (Nevermind those niceties of phrasing, good sound, and mature musicality, the “complete package”.)
Remember that your mother and indeed whole country may be waiting for you to get into a certain school, orchestra, or have a certain management company, and this can be rigged as well. Also, remember that there are famous predatory teachers and conductors out there. You can say no…and they have power.
Remember that if management or current players of an orchestra had to take an audition like this, the management would certainly cry and the players might.
Then if you prevail, you may have to fight for your job, your benefits, your very livelihood. Prevailing, you had to play like a god for 30 minutes, and now you may have to play like one for 30 years— if you can get past the trial year.
Still want to go on this journey? Okay, maybe you have mental toughness for this. Begin here:
There is not much you can do about your past except change the way you think about it, you did the best you could do at the time. You can’t go back and practice more. You can’t go back and this time rise to the top of every challenge that you can. You can’t fault yourself for saying to yourself, “I love this, it doesn’t matter where I go to school”. You can’t fault your parents for not giving your more fast twitch fibers so that you can play as neatly and cleanly as auditions in the United States are set up to show. You can’t fault yourself for not learning to take on social and political responsibilities that are needed in today’s artsy world. (What responsibility! I was the practice room rat! Who cares if I can sincerely smile or be likeable!)
You can’t worrrrry about the future. (If you get that great job, will it be there in 10 years?) You can set yourself up for the future by doing lifelong learning in the present, by paying attention, taking care of yourself and your skills. Get Rolfing Structural and Movement Integration and do maintenance of it. (and .. Are you innumerate except for 12/8 time? It is time to go online and take a bookkeeping course, followed by a contracts course primer.)
The present, that is where we are and where we can really hurt ourselves. Are you listening, Mothers? Don’t bring your child at the last minute to Philadelphia and get him/her with that coach whom you think will get him/her into the Curtis Institute and lock him/her into a practice room for 12-14 hours a day.
Same for auditioners: start early, eat something besides pizza, and continue to exercise. Do not turn on full throttle in the last minute, like the last one or 2 weeks. You have money in the bank in practicing, please trust yourself, and think more than you physically pound yourself into the ground. (What am I saying…this stuff creates more business for me!) When you practice, go for the “Complete Package” if only for yourself.
So, you wake up on the day, and then you are lucky enough to get past the first round. Conditioning will show up. Remember that you want to free the body from “the bear”, the tensional thing jumping on your back that creates so much bound-up strength that you get tired.
In the vernacular, Don’t Try Too Hard. Don’t relax, either, Strength with Flow is your mantra. No relaxy wimps allowed in auditions.
I love this article about Amantle Montsho and what it reveals about her training. We can all benefit from this wonderful grounded writer. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/sports/olympics/amantle-montsho-seeks-glory-in-a-punishing-race.html?_r=1&ref=sports
But before reading that, see if you can do something about that dogged emotional tone. Just to get us in the proper frame of mind for that trial by fire known as the audition, listen to this, the whole thing:http://soundcloud.com/gypzyjz/mah-voice-don-wuuuurrr