Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My first (real) audition

So I took a big step: I auditioned for the orchestra at the university. At 40 years old and only having recently started taking lessons (only 1 lesson thus far) it was more than a bit daunting. In fact, I wavered between canceling and showing up with increasing frequency as the audition approached.

Although I've been playing for years, I never had the opportunity to take lessons. I also never had the opportunity (or until recently the desire) to play classical music. There is always a challenge, an excitement, and fear in the new. On my mind as the audition approached was the latter: failing in front of a colleague (the conductor), failing in front of the other musicians if I do make it to the rehearsal. In addition, there is something about being my age and joining an orchestra where, on average, I'm twice as old as everyone else is a bit embarrassing or at least causes me to question the path I chose. I know that these fears/anxieties are ill placed and just stand in my way of moving on and getting better at playing, but they are there and they are real. That's part of the challenge and the excitement I guess: over coming this kind of mental crap.

Anyway, the day of the audition I practiced at home for almost three hours. This included scales (good idea) and trying to pick some new pieces to play at the audition (bad idea). I played horribly at the audition, stopping and re-starting several intermediate solo pieces. I was amazed at how bad I was playing relative to how things went at home. I told the conductor I was nervous and I apologized. He told me my intonation was good, he though I had good rhythm. Then he gave me the "what the hell" shrug and told me to be at the rehearsal the next night. So, for the first time, I'm playing in an orchestra.

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