Tuesday, July 12, 2005

learning from losing in Louisville


Louisville's Kentucky Center, site of this morning's rejection Posted by Picasa

This morning I played an audition in Louisville, for a one-year assistant principal bass position. I didn't advance in the preliminaries, unfortunately. It was a bit of a let-down, since I felt I had been playing well, but clearly there's another level I need to reach.

Since I've been in Kent I've had a few lessons with Scott Haigh, a bassist in the Cleveland Orchestra. I wasn't sure whether I would mesh with Mr. Haigh's teaching style at first - for one thing, it's been a while since I had a teacher who preferred to be called 'Mr.' - but his lessons have all been incredibly inspiring and encouraging. He has a great ability to focus on all the things I too often forget to notice - vocal quality, variety of width and speed of vibrato, rhythmic drive and precision, longer phrases.

It has also been very nice to have a teacher who takes a real interest in me as a person. Before I left for Louisville, he told me, "Just remember, if you win, it was meant to be, and if not, it means you'll get something better pretty soon." That helped me so much to keep my perspective, and not wallow so deeply in my rejection.

If I still had an ankle mired in self-pity, reading the recent postings of two friends of mine, Aaron and Amelia, also helped pull things into perspective. Both have been grieving and struggling with reminders of mortality - Aaron's grandmother was just diagnosed with leukemia, and Amelia just lost her great-aunt. My post-audition blues seem trivial next to their suffering, for which I offer my condolences.

It's important to remind myself what matters most, the people around me, and I want to keep a healthy balance, and not become audition-obsessed. I also need to develop a certain tenacity and focus, however, and not allow my attentions to drift from one interest to the next. The lessons I take away from this audition, I think, are about life and not just about music - have a seriousness of purpose, clear priorities, and strong conviction. Also, it helps to sleep the night before.

Scott Haigh is also coaching an upcoming performance of Martinu's Sextet, which I wrote about last Friday.

1 comment:

urn said...

How surreal to read about my own life events in another person's blog. I'm still in a haze re: my grandma, but reading about other peoples' lives in blogs is always clearer. I read "Aaron's grandmother was just diagnosed with leukemia" and I think "Oh, how terrible for Aaron. I'm thankful I've never had to face such a thing."

Then I remember that link points to me.

Thanks for the sympathetic thoughts, man. And I'm sorry you didn't advance through the auditions. Hopefully, we can get together when you're in town, and you can explain everything about what it is you're doing. :) You musicians are mysterious to me.