September 4, 2013 at 9:57 AMI have an audition today.
I love auditioning. I love the thrill that comes from performing under pressure, putting one's reputation at risk, the week of stressing out that precedes it, the bloody nail biting, the voices in the head shouting, "Don't mess up, they're all judging you!--What is that note, anyway???" Yes, the untold bottled-up anxiety that surges through my veins at just the right moment during a tricky run is such a rush. Love it, just love it. Makes me want to run off the stage and out the loading dock door, and not stop until I hit the Chugiach Range.
This week, instead of my usual Wednesday teaching routine, I have rescheduled most of my students in order to make room for a special trip to Anchorage. Then at 7:20 pm, I will be standing on the stage in Atwood Hall, before a panel of my colleagues and Meistro Randall Fleisher himself, and I will play through my prepared excerpts and concerto in an audition for the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra. The last time I auditioned for anything was back in 2006, to join the same symphony. Thankfully, they decided to use me, and I've enjoyed many happy adventures on the stage with them ever since. This time, however, I will be playing the viola in an attempt to expand my playing opportunities with them.
It's not like I'm unprepared or unqualified. It's not even a difficult audition, since I'm already in the symphony and I know everyone on the panel: the battle is completely mental at this point. Unfortunately, it's a battle I struggle to win. To help reduce the symptoms of performance anxiety, I really wanted to practice performing for people, which is a crucial part in the preparation process. But Melissa's out of town, and so is Maria, and quite honestly, it's been a while since I've had anyone over--outside of 35 students and their families, of course.
Unable to find an audience, I dug out my favorite torture device--the Video Camera of Penance--and began my Hundred Takes of Mozart, ready to purge the living bejeezus out of every last run. As I made my way back and forth across the living room to hit the delete button, I sensed that the camera was not the only pair of eyeballs fixed on my every move.
(From Left to Right: Turdle, Enos, Sheldon, Randy, and Slim)
From the top of the sofa, they sat in a row, giving me their undivided attention; their faces held nothing but the most sincere interest. After forty takes, how could they still be so attentive and encouraging? Yet there they sat, with nary a criticism.
Bolstered by the stamp of approval from five onlooking friends, I played on. What a difference ears can make--now, I had something to communicate! I played my best for them, and when I messed up, they didn't even flinch. Randy may have even cracked a smile when I nailed that one particularly hairy run. Surely, I could trust this panel! Still feeling nervous? Simply pull them out of their shells, and who can be nervous about a turtle with no shell? It makes me smile just thinking about it.
What if they were all just turtles, and I was their best friend? What harm can be done in thinking so? My hands stop fidgeting, my pulse slows, and I feel peaceful and secure once more, and happier than I've been in days.
Thanks guys, I owe you one.
Good luck on your audition. I'm sure you will nail it. After all, you've already gotten past one discerning panel. :-)
ps- Good luck.. and I realize that the jury members are already your colleagues, but given your line of work I'm sure there's a few sensitive souls among them ....probably best if you don't try to pull them out of their shells.
Go for it with both feet, uh hands...
Good luck with the audition!!
I am soooo glad it's over.
Thank you everyone for your encouragement, and I thought of you all while I was there. And turtles... ;)
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