Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Best Audition I Ever Took

I was walking on air, ready to conquer the world with not a single worry about failure or competitors!  It was one of those precious few windows in time when I owned it all, or so I had conveniently convinced myself.  Ever feel like that?  Nice that it does happen once or twice in a lifetime, hopefully a lot more often, like every week!

Our task is to make it appear to happen every day!  If our feelings  falter, our confidence must not.  The audience must never know that we are not totally thrilled with every single moment of the show.  Success is when you can mask those pesky competing emotions.  Success is having practiced to the point where you can convince yourself and your listeners that there is nothing at all wrong with this picture.

Now back to that marvelous audition.  The neat thing about it was that for much of my journey, my trumpet was not needed. Listening and visualizing the performance is more important than lip slurs and long tones.  Great strides can happen when there is no obstacle in hand to thwart your merry jaunt.  Of course the grunt work of rehearsing and practice had long since been my routine. There is always time to take a deep breath, however, and to enjoy the fruits of all the laboring. Now to scale the summit, nail the finals, and on to win the job!

So, what's the key after all you can do has been done?  Put the horn down and sing it perfectly.  Create all the energy, rhythm, and character of the music with your feeble voice.  Be able to drop in on the exact mood of each excerpt with no hesitation.  All musical instincts must be on high alert.  The committee calls for the piece, we deliver the music.  We are to produce the product as easily and naturally as reaching out to catch a tossed pencil.

(Way too much rambling here, but that tends to happen when the future is in the past.)  To the point: sing it to win it!  Score highly on rhythm, dynamics, and character, all with really nice intonation.  When you can dazzle without the horn, you are then free to sizzle with it.  The horn is the final piece of your musical puzzle.  If all those prior pieces are in place, the horn will fit nicely into position. 

That audition was fun, not a nerve-fest.  It was simply a special-delivery day.  It was how I had always imagined it would be in high school back in NJ sitting in my room practicing and dreaming.  Have we lost the wonderment of our profession?  Do we finish conservatory only to burn out and hate our work?

Am I still too dreamy and unrealistic?  Yes.  But why not give ourselves to recapturing the romance we once had with music?  Our jobs and our audiences depend on it.


Anonymous said...

desire realized is pretty sweet!

Phil Collins said...

How sweet it is, but not without its high cost.

Anonymous said...

I have not lost my passion and my playing is just fine. But my desire is certainly diminished.

It's the fact that we, the skilled musicians who play symphonic music, have become a commodity thanks to fat-cat fear-mongering maestros and for-profit-minded executive directors. It's these people who have (at this point almost completely successfully) destroyed the community that was the symphony orchestra, and essentially scared the crap out of everyone to the point where people can barely take a breath to play at all.

The dysfunctional corporate architecture of the symphony orchestra (in tandem with society's perverted shift in priorities) have brought the entire industry to its knees. The institution is being bulldozed right before our very eyes, and nobody is coming to it's rescue.

Honestly, who the f* feels like to singing about that?? I, for one, certainly don't.

Phil Collins said...

Ah, yes, those pesky competing emotions.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful, and inspiring. To remember why we do this in the first place.