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Laurie Niles

March 4, 2004 at 7:32 AM

I want to thank everyone who has been so encouraging to me regarding this upcoming audition I am planning (against all logic) to take.

First, I will bring you up to date. After receiving 500 resumes for one section violin position, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has reserved audition times for 183 “invited” violinists, who will be heard over a four-day period, with the possibility of a fifth day being added. I’ve been told that as a “stand-by,” I need to be ready to play any time March 20-23. Wow. And if I don’t “fit into a gap,” there is a possibility I won’t be heard.

The letter said, “We will make every attempt to hear as many of you as can fit into our already full schedule, but I must inform you that if all who have expressed an interest in standing by do so, it is possible that we will run out of time.”

Am I deterred? Of course. But I’m still planning on doing it. As my mother observed, “The violin has been beating you up ever since you were nine, by now you have a tough skin.” I also would add that the L.A. Phil appears to be trying its best to give everyone a listen.

Despite these roadblocks, I have found encouragement from my family, friends, and well, you guys!

First there is Dimitri, a fabulous teacher. I’ve never talked with him in person or taken a lesson from him, but I can tell he is a fabulous teacher by the incredibly useful and detailed advise he’s forwarded to me on how to practice these excerpts. His advice also inspired me to boost my practice time to more like four hours. Thank you!

Then there is my friend, Ann, who gave me a box of “Good Karmals,” exceptionally delicious carmels wrapped in colored papers with little inspirations on them, such as “Expect the unexpected and whenever possible BE the unexpected.”

Many members boosted me with their e-mails. Absolutely Insane wrote me to say, “Just know that there is someone else who is also….Absolutely Insane!” Scott68 wrote to say that he’s “really hoping you the best always, even if it means devouring massive doses of Berg.” A reader named Greg wrote, “I hope you knock their socks off!”

I’m happy to report that the readers of this site are not only generous in their encouragement of causes like mine, but they also cheer on anyone’s genuine efforts on the violin. One case that moved me recently was Nada Mogharbel of Beirut, Lebanon, who wrote to our discussion board several weeks ago as a discouraged adult student. So many people overwhelmed her with words of encouragement, she wrote back just two days later: “I don’t know how to thank you enough…one by one, you have all been a great support to me and each of your messages was greatly helpful and enlightening in one way or another…I am so honored to join this site and acknowledge what a great violin community you are!!

“I have no shame in telling you that your supporting messages actually made me cry… first because I have realized how much my teacher affected me negatively in his early judgment and second because it was overwhelming for me to see that I have gained friends worldwide who care for me and give me true advice.”

Encouragement is contagious. We need it at every level, from the day we decide to start sawing away at the fiddle to the day we play our first recital, the day we audition for youth orchestra, the day we audition for a new teacher or college, the day we give a full solo recital, the day we play a solo for an orchestra, the day we take an ambitious audition. The more we support each other in this way, the stronger our violin community will become. In a world full of synthesizers and bad elevator music, we need to be strong!

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