Saturday, September 09, 2006


So the trip to school for the audition turned into something of an odyssey. I had set up at my Mom's in upper Manhattan and planned to take the subway down so that I wouldn't have to worry about looking for parking by school. I checked to make sure I had everything before I left. A few steps away from the building I felt that my bookbag was too heavy so I decided to leave some of the books in my car. Twenty minutes later and halfway into my subway ride downtown I realized I left the music behind with my MCAT books. I calmly got out at the next stop and took it back uptown. By the time I got back to my car it was 2 o'clock and I ended up having to drive after all. Luckily I found parking but I ended up losing almost all of my warm-up time. I had just 5 minutes before they called me in. Maybe it was for the best though because I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as I waited in the warm-up room. What a relief to be done! I thought my heart would jump out of my chest the entire time. Those were the longest 10 minutes ever.

The good news: My Marcello came out pretty well. I was actually a bit disappointed (and a bit worried) when they stopped me halfway. I didn't get a chance to do the ending which was coming out really well. Then again I also didn't have to battle through the longest phrase in the work, the one I tended to run out of breath on. I think that most of the elements were there. It was a big room so my sound seemed very different than usual but I had no time to really think about it. My intonation was good and I think I kept the rhythm well. I even managed to work some dynamics in there. Too bad I didn't get to do the really soft part near the end. Oh well. No matter, I don't think that the Marcello made a difference. I think that at the end of it I had moderately impressed them and was still in the game.

The bad news: I crapped out on the technical sight reading. The damn thing was in E-flat major and for some reason I allowed this to freak me out. I just hadn't played in that key in a while. Also the articulation of the excerpt was all over the place and I messed it up. I somehow got to the end but it was very sloppy.

The expressive sight reading went better because at least I hit all the right notes. It was a mostly legato excerpt in G minor. I tried my hardest to get the dynamics right and to put some vibrato in there. In retrospect I should have done the expressive one first because then I wouldn't have gotten freaked out by the other one. I think they liked the expressive one but I am not sure.

Walking out I thought I maybe had a chance but as I got near the door I heard one of the three judges say "Ehh" in a negative sort of way. So I am expecting to not get in. I'll find out tomorrow night.

It's ok if I don't get in. I learned a lot from the experience. There are other groups I can join, but I may have to pay because they are more like classes offered at different music schools.

When I walked back to the warm-up room there was another oboist there. I'm not sure how many they're looking to take since right now they only have 1. I figured I'd stand a good chance if I were the only one auditioning. However, if anyone else showed up chances are they have more experience than me since they're likely to be undergrads who've been playing at least since high school, if not earlier. The other girl was doing the first movement of the Saint-Saens Sonata (I LOVE that one!). As soon as I heard the first few notes I thought: I'm definitely not getting in. That piece is so lovely it will impress no matter what. Her sound was good as was her breath control, and her technique was fairly good. But as she went on I noticed that she was quite severely sharp (I even turned on my tuner which was in my bag to confirm - is that evil?? haha). She was also playing the piece a bit too quickly.

I was under the impression that intonation, sound, and rhythm would be the most important qualities to show. I'm really curious to see what they regard as most important. I'm assuming that the other oboist sight read better than me. So they'd have to choose between a good albeit out-of-tune sight-reader or between someone who can play in tune but may get lost in the music. I have a feeling they'll choose the former. Especially since intonation tends to be a problem regardless in large wind ensembles.

Well, it's done. It's 21 months to the day since I started playing and I survived my first audition. I think I'll have a toast to that tonight! :-)


oceanskies79 said...

A toast to you.

dulciana said...

Absolutely - I hope you celebrated your audition even though you didn't get in. I often remind myself that very few people are willing to put themselves on the line the way performing musicians do. Even if I flub something, I'm still braver than lots of folks just for being willing to risk the performance. I'm sure you played well.