This is kind of a big topic to tackle in one post, so I’m just going to talk about the audition I took today. I had a few practice-related ideas floating around earlier today (time management, goal management, this awesome article that, at the end, talks about comparing what goals you have and what you actually spend your time doing) but decided my notes on this audition were going to be a lot more useful to me in the future.
This was a placement audition for the festival- determining who gets what parts, roughly. There were about 12 of us, we all used the same warm up room, and the audition was screened. There were runners and a room proctor, it was run like a real audition. At 6:30pm we drew lots and I got #1! Kind of exciting, but also a bit “wow, okay, ready-set-go!” I brought my smartphone into the audition with me and recorded the entire audition which took about 6 minutes. I strongly recommend this to everyone.
What I heard when I listened to the recording was the honest truth. Many things were actually better than I experienced at the time, several things were just as “ugh” as I experienced. Fortunately nothing turned out worse than I had thought at the time. My main take-aways were this:
- Sometimes in an audition I’ll feel like it’s “happening to me” rather than being in the driver’s seat. A little experimenting tonight showed that usually slowing down (or trying to mentally slow down) helps fix this. Everything was at the correct tempo, even when I tried mentally slowing down, so it seems there was nothing lost.
- My short notes are too short. I can get away with thinking of my short notes as just very brief long notes. As a result there’ll be less tongue pressure / more air / faster articulation / rainbows / ponies.
- My motherf%^&ing tongue is still too fast. I came home after the audition and played the articulation excerpt again, forcing myself to try thinking of the slowest, least responsive articulation yet. And you know what? I could then play Scherzo at 92, no problem. In summary, think: ridiculously slow tongue, and long notes. Long everything.
The real key is going to be putting myself in this kind of situation more frequently. I’ll get that opportunity regularly this summer with weekly studio classes (woot). Performing under pressure brings out the weaknesses that still need attention. Goals this summer, in addition to maintaining the 4-hours-a-day schedule are: record every day, and make the two weakest excerpts from today’s audition my strongest ones.