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Mendy Smith

Day 29 - Audition Day

March 1, 2009 at 11:47 PM

I arrived at the University well in advance of the audition to warm-up and try to calm my nerves.  My pianist arrived shortly after I did so we had some time for a final rehearsal in one of the practice rooms before I was called to the stage.

I was asked to face towards the judges and announce my first piece - Bloch's Suite Hebraique.  I had no shakes on the opening melody, my vibrato was going nicely, and I was happy with the tone.  I make it through the first page, and then the second without getting nervous.  On the third page my nerve started to go on me and I began shaking, leading up to that high Eb.  I didn't get the intonation right, then made my way back down and blew a note or two back down, corrected, and went on.  At the pause, I took a deep breath and my calm came back to me again.  Before finishing the piece they asked me to stop.  They jury all had smiles on their faces.  One of the jury member said I have a very nice tone.  (YIPPEE!). Another jury member called to my pianist "Your Hired! Accompanying Bloch is NOT easy!" much to both of our surprise. 

Then they asked me to play the Bach Suite #3 - Prelude.  This I was able to do totally relaxed, no missed notes, no shakes.  Again, they stopped me before it was complete (but past the most difficult section).  I looked up again, and they were still all smiles.

One of the faculty escorted me off the stage to get the next person and spoke to me a little bit.  She said that she planned on giving me the highest scores.  She said the Bloch was played beautifully even with a few wrong notes and a small case of the shakes. The Bach - ooooh Bach....  I had the essence of Bach, it was very nicely done.

So, there we have it.  She said that the actual granting of the scholarship is based on the FAFSA in addition to my musical ability.  Given how things have changed for me job-wise recently, I won't be granted the scholarship.  However, I got highest scores from at least one faculty member, which is well above any expectations I had going into this. 

I still can't believe I pulled it off. This was a very nice way to end my time here in Portland. 

From Dottie Case
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 1:10 AM

Yay Mendy!!!!  Having just done this all with my daughter last week (though her audition was unaccompanied, and I only got to hear by a combination of ear-pressed-to-the-door and her Ipod recording), I can see and hear it all.  I know the victory she felt...the sense of focus of months of preparation that was culminating in a moment, that she was able to pull it off.  Bravo!!! 


From Jodi Bernard
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 2:32 AM

Yeah Mendy!!! Good job. Don't worry about the scholarship too much. Once they get to know you, I bet by this time next year you will end up with some sort of scholarship.

I have been on both sides of the door myself. Audtioning for a scholarship many many years ago.... and I, like Dottie, have listened to my daughter with an ear pressed through the door. Either way... both is nerveracking.

Best wishes to you and I can't wait to see your other blogs about school.


From Stephen Brivati
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 3:57 AM


fantastic! An epic odessy.  Don`t stop now.



From Bill Busen
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 4:39 AM

Congratulations, Mendy!  I agree - epic.  I bet a lot of us will miss the suspense now that you're going to get all practical on us, just to feed your selfish habit of living indoors.  :-)

An adventure to remember...and someday maybe be called back to...

From Mendy Smith
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 7:36 AM

Thanks all.  This HAS been an "Epic" adventure.  I am still astounded and my teacher is thrilled.  We are still arguing over who needs to take the most credit for this achievement - he says it is my dedication, drive and hours of practice; I say that it is his teaching skills and ability to motivate me to achieve the seemingly impossible in such a short time.  At the end of the day, we must both take equal credit. The student/teacher relationship IS a partnership in the purest sense of the word. 

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Wow, congratulations!  Now you have this piece under your belt you know you can do it again in another situation.  You go, girl!

From Donna Clegg
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Watch out Texas!  Mendy Smith = confident violist extraordinaire!  Grats and good luck in your new home.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 4:21 PM

When you say "made it through the first page," do you mean that you used sheet music for the audition even though you had the piece memorized?   (something many musicians do, I've heard).  Or did you play from memory but still think of the piece in terms of pages, visualizing the actual pages in your mind or something?  

I'm just curious about how people memorize music and whether thinking in terms of pages and/or visualizing the actual pages while memorizing helps or not.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 4:49 PM

 Aww, what a great story. Congrats on your success!

From sharelle taylor
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Tears in my eyes :)

Huge congrats on a huge effort and a result that is thrilling and satisfying (apart from me missing Joel). 

From Mendy Smith
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 10:19 PM


I used the piano score - playing my part from memory but looking at the piano part (I did not have the piano part memorized).  This piece has alot of tricky entrances and rhythms. 

From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 2, 2009 at 11:06 PM



From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 3, 2009 at 12:42 AM

I loved reading this blog.  Congratulations on the results of your audition.  I'm glad that your audition story had a happy ending.

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