audition days

It's audition season for music schools around the country, UW included. I've gotten some calls to accompany graduate auditions this month, and I've accepted most of them. You can make decent money playing for auditions, but it's stressful. You get a pile of music, usually only a week or two ahead of time, that you have to prepare in a hurry. Then there's one rushed rehearsal with the prospective student (who probably just got into town the night before). Just a little while later you go into a room with a handful of music faculty members who have had to listen to people sing or play for hours, and they have to do their best to look fresh and friendly for everyone new. Then after all that preparation you might play only one third of what you bring in, maybe half if you're lucky.

All that said, auditions are far more stressful for the people trying to get into the SOM (school of music). My job is to be the body at the piano who can play as many right notes as possible and keep a steady beat. And while I know they may notice if you're doing a good job, they generally don't pay a whole lot of attention unless you really screw up. Sometimes that's a good thing, depending on how much time you were given to prepare. But there are times when you work really hard and actually play well and you hope they notice.

For today I had to prepare two substantial instrumental pieces, as well as 15 minutes of vocal music; the latter was one of those last-minute-desperate-for-a-pianist requests. I spent a fair amount of time practicing everything and didn't even play half of it.

It's been a long couple of weeks. My kids and husband got the flu last week, I got two stitches in my thumb (I had them taken out yesterday but it's still kind of bruised and sore), I was told just a few days ago that my hours at my job have been reduced (fewer hours = pay cut, though I can probably make up for it with more freelancing), and then after spending most of the day playing auditions my bike got a flat tire on the way home. It felt a little like the universe telling me I've had it too easy today for some reason.

None of this is terrible, just a lot of little crappy things that are adding up to me feeling a little tired and discouraged. I think it's time for a glass of wine and some comfort food before I curl up with some knitting in front of the TV.


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