I took an audition today, my first one in seven or so years. Allow me to take you through my day (god help you), so you can get a good idea of my frame of mind, etc etc. Basically "A day in the life of Chantal, who happens to be taking an audition today". You've been warned.
It started off rather well! I was awoken by a very cute dog that I'm caring for, and I let her out. I was kinda groggy, so I went back to bed for a little bit, and woke up happily a bit later, around 8am. I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted last night, but was still feeling good.
I got up, and kinda took my time doing everything. I made myself a rather killer breakfast, consisting of a gluten free bagel, sausage links, and scrambled eggs. Oh yes, and COFFEE. Super yummy coffee. I was happy as a clam. I was excited about the audition, and feeling confident. Not arrogant, but confident. OK, so I was feeling slightly arrogant---I was expecting to win my audition. I even bought celebratory wine the night before! Anyway, so I post on Facebook about how ridiculously good I feel and all that, and enjoy watching the flood of "likes" coming in and whatnot.
I shower and make myself super pretty. I listen to fantastic music in the morning, and am literally overflowing with positivity. I run through my excerpts, and my solo. I feel good about them! Well, the Mozart not so much.....but still, I feel good. My Brahms is kickin', and my Beethoven is ready to explode in awesomeness. I pack up, and get going, practically jumping for joy. I make the drive up north, and am the first person to arrive to the warm up area.
The area happens to be around 78 degrees. Enough to make me actually sweat. I sit down on my stool, and when I get up, because I'm wearing a short dress, there's gross sweat all over it. (sorry if that's tmi). It's hot is what I'm saying. But I'm not one to throw too much of a fit about that---stuff happens. Besides, the warmth is good for my muscles, was my thought. It actually ended up being a pain for my bass---my bow was sticking to my strings when it never had before. I figured thought that problem would be eliminated when I went to the actual audition area.
So, I warmed up for a bit, and then decided to see if I could find out who the other people auditioning were. I knew that two friends of mine would be auditioning, and I, in my mind, was SURE that one of us would win. I just knew it in my gut.
Then I found out who the fourth person was though. It's basically the best bassist in town. Like, subs with major orchestras, is first call, etc etc. He's an amazing bassist----I heard him all growing up (we were in youth orchestra together all through high school. I turned his pages a lot) and have heard him since then, and he's outstanding.
I didn't expect him to go for this though, so when I saw his name, my stomach dropped, and I felt a little sick. I'm a great bassist, but I am nothing compared to this guy. I was thinking to myself "Why am I here? Might as well pack up and go home." And then, I allowed myself to mentally crash. I had been riding a high for a few days, very excited about this audition, and my chances, and then BOOM. I just crashed. It was awful. I was on the verge of tears at times, as crashes like that often do that to me. Warming up was frustrating as it was so stinkin' hot in the room, although I did run through all my pieces.
I finally hauled butt over to the hall, where the audition would take place, where it was something like 10 degrees cooler. I didn't change anything; no extra rosin, or anything of the sort. I unpacked and got ready to go. Before that though, I got to hear the audition of the amazing bass player, and he sounded, well, amazing. Out of this world.
Then, I started to get nervous. I hadn't felt a single nerve all day, but all of a sudden, it set in, and I started shaking. In I went, and went up to the stage, and saw musicians that I like and respect sitting at a table below, ready to listen to me play.
I felt like I was on Mars.
I felt rushed, even though no one was rushing me at all. I felt self conscious, even though I knew everyone there was rooting for me to do my best. I felt like I'd never played the bass. I felt like being there was a waste of everyone's time, including mine. Worst of all, I felt unprepared.
I opened up with the Bourree's from Bach's Third Cello suite, and playing was rather interesting, as my hands wouldn't stop shaking. Even my left leg, which sits on a rung (I sit on a stool when I play) was shaking like made. Strangely my right side was cool as a cucumber. So, I'm playing, and my goodness, it sounds awful. Like, sooooo many intonation problems. A ridiculous amount. A horrific amount. I kind of lose my place in one spot, and it's just a hot mess. I move on to some excerpts, that go fairly well, except now my bow isn't sticking too much to my string, it's not sticking enough. Of course, I didn't bring any rosin to take care of this issue, as I thought I had enough on there, based on how it was sticking in the practice room.
So, on I go with the excerpts. They didn't ask for all of them, which was a bummer---they left out a few Brahms ones that I love to play, and am rather good at. (I'm pretty good at Brahms. I'd say his stuff is my strongest). I do rather well with Beethoven 9, the recitative stuff. But then comes Mozart 35, and before I played it, for 5 seconds, I actually truly, genuinely considered just walking out of the audition. I considered ending it. I was so embarrassed at how I sounded, I was shaking so much, and NOTHING was like how I'd been feeling the past two days. The excitement I had about this audition had turned to dread. The confidence I had left me. It abandoned me. I clearly was not prepared enough, not just with the music, but with the whole concept of auditioning, and what it entails---nerves, etc etc. It's been so long, and I arrogantly thought "No big deal! I've done it before, I'll be fine!" I was anything but fine.
However, I played the Mozart.....if you call that playing, which I don't really. It was just a blur of messiness. It sounded like a dog fart. Ok, maybe not that bad, but my goodness, it was crap. So, I book-ended my audition with crap playing. The middle stuff was pretty good though, I have to say.
Anyway, got back out, shaking like mad, and there are my bass mates. Thank goodness they didn't hear much, since the doors were closed. We talked and chatted and I thankfully didn't barf or anything. I almost cried, but stopped myself. The audition committee then came out, as they were taking a break, and bless their hearts, they complimented me. I, like a true jerk, said "No, really, I didn't play well", but then realized that these men---who are all respectable men who are not wont to lie---meant what they said to me, and I apologized, and then thanked them. I felt embarrassed though. I wanted to crawl in to a hole, after telling them "I SWEAR, I'm a good bassist! I swear I really am!!!!!!!!!"
I was (and still am, a couple hours later), depressed. I was at least looking forward to enjoying my wine, because it was celebratory wine; I was gonna celebrate a good audition, even if I didn't know the result right away. I envisioned I take it over to my manfriend's house, and toast to my bass awesomeness. Now....I'm just wondering what I have to celebrate. That I took an audition? I mean, I guess. He (my manfriend) called me on the way home, and said to come over, that he has pizza and beer. I said no, I'm not hungry, I couldn't eat, no way. He said some funny things that would normally make me laugh; I didn't laugh though. He said I should come over, and he'd try to cheer me up. He's so sweet to do such things. And you'd think I'd take him up on all of his kindness, but just texted him saying I'd see him another day, because all I'd do is cry, and that's just no fun.
See? This is the post-audition depression that I spoke of in my last blog. It's setting in. It won't be around forever, I know that. But it seems terribly intense already. Unsurprising really, considered how excited/happy/on cloud nine I was about the audition, going in to it.
Yes yes, there's stuff to learn from this. I know. Don't worry, I'll catch it.
The results haven't been posted, yet I am not dumb, and know I did not win the audition. I'm worried now though, about other things---do they still want me to sub with them? Or do they think I'm awful, and will look for other bassists to call? Ugh. It's tiring just thinking about it.
Sigh. So, that was my day today. What an up and down day. I'm disappointed in myself, a lot. And that's far worse than disappointing anyone else.
Sorry to be Debby Downer/Nancy Negative (your choice). I wish I had a better story to tell, but it is what it is, I guess. I'll just keep working towards the next audition, which is in mid October.