Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Welcome to the real world...

Today I did my first ever audition for a real job. I've done a number of other auditions for youth orchestras and for the Fellowship with the Sydney Symphony I'm doing this year but never for a real-life job. It's kind of an anomaly.. The number of jobs that come up for classical musicians, the odds of winning one, the odds of it being in your country (let's not even talk about your city); well it's all pretty difficult. In the end I hope to have a job somewhere (trying not to be too fussy here) but somehow it all seems almost impossible.

Anyway, my goal for this audition was to get through the first round. For non-musicians out there let me explain the whole thing: there are a number of rounds, however many it takes to have one person knock out all the others (boxing much?). Depending on the orchestra, the audition, or part of the audition, is screened (in this case the first round was screened). That means we play standing behind a big partition of some kind providing a level of unbias or something like that. Prior to the audition, usually about a month, we are given a number of excerpts (extracts from orchestral repertoire) to play and we have to prepare a standard classical concerto (from a certain period of time a couple of hundred years ago) and a modern concerto (for viola that means BartokWalton or Hindemith). Usually we have to prepare the first movement of these concertos with cadenzas where applicable. Today the first round consisted of the exposition (introduction) of the classical concerto and 3 excerpts. My goal leading up to this audition, as I've said, was to get through the first round. I can understand not winning a job considering my level of experience but I really wanted to get through the first round. Alas today they only took one person through to the next round and it wasn't me (yes, that means they box against themselves in Round 2).

I am pretty disappointed overall because the amount of work I put into this audition was pretty huge for me. But in the end: that's the reality of real life (I guess that's why it's called real life). I guess I just have to work harder and improve my general standard of playing. However I did learn a lot today, and even though I didn't get through the first round I truly believe I did a pretty good audition and considering that I'm a nervous wreck that is definitely a huge step forward for me. My approach and preparation for doing better in the next audition that comes along is going to be a more consistent approach to overall improvement. I'm finally going to work on things which I know are my weaknesses (it's so obvious that I should've done this already but it's so easy to hide them..) for example: my lack of variation in vibrato. I've also decided to get nerdier with the music and really start to get into the classical world a bit more. This will involve listening to more music, reading about it, and thinking more about the music I play rather than just instinctually (instinctively?) playing it. Sometimes I feel like I haven't improved in my playing all year but then I realise I wouldn't even have thought about doing an audition like this last year, and I didn't totally bomb it today. Time to exponentially improve people!!

And if you want to know what happens once you've won the audition and are the last man/woman standing? You don't get the job yet! You go on a trial for 6 months to a year and then you might have it.

The view from the communal warm-up room.

1 comment:

  1. love the honesty of your post, Nicole. It's very brave to pursue music as a full-time job, as it's very hard to not take someone's judgement of your music/art to heart. This year I bought a book called The Artist's Way as I'm trying to bring more intuition and creativity into my life. A lot of people want to express their creativity but are afraid to make the leap... myself included. So I really admire you sharing your music and this blog, with us <3 xx jen

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