Sunday, August 30, 2015

Avoiding the B Word!

"So, how did your audition go?"  

"Pretty well, in my opinion. I hardly missed a note, but the committee wasn't impressed.  I don't know what they were looking for!" 

Even if your solo and excerpts were flawless, there must have been something that they didn't like. Maybe it's not what you did, but what you didn't do that got you eliminated.  Did you infect the committee with a deadly dose of the B word?  BORING!  Be careful, even perfect playing can come across as uninspired. Spraying the hall with the pungent aroma of mediocrity usually yields the response, "Thank you, next!" 

News flash: the perfect audition never happened! And there is no perfect musician. Squeaky clean is always the goal, but so is bold, assertive, standout playing. Shooting for splendid, ravishing playing frees us from the nerve-wracking pressure of having to be note-perfect.

An Eastman violin professor once warned, "if you are going to play like that (lacking depth of emotion), you'd better play perfectly."  Accuracy matters, but so does style, energy, and great overall musicianship.  Having to be note-perfect puts tremendous pressure on you, but there is great freedom in immersing yourself totally in the drama of the music.  So be encouraged. Don't try to be perfect. Try to make an impression. You're on stage to give, not to measure up.












1 comment:

Joyce Davis said...

Excellent post, Phil. Thanks. So many players often come out of auditions saying they played well or even more superlative words. But they are passed over. As you say, and I thoroughly agree, that style, musicianship are lacking in the performances. Again, thanks, Phil.