I felt quite sick yesterday with a stomach bug that began the day before and is just now starting to leave me. It's significant because it left less room for me to feel nervous, or really even very much concerned for my audition. I was more focused on simply going through the process, granted I was fairly well-prepared and in control despite the discomfort.
A few things I might have chosen to go differently, and when I walked off stage I assumed I had earned a free tomorrow, i.e. not passed the round. But they called my name and number. I should have been nervously excited to have made it, but I hadn't been particularly happy with my playing and wasn't feeling very well. The assistant told me and one other girl from our hour to return at 2pm the next day.
So I relaxed for a bit, then did a blitz practice on the remaining parts of Dvorak that I thought could be requested today, as well as a review of all the other excerpts and Bach that could be asked as well.
And then I lay in bed, feeling a little more proud to have made it past that first hurdle and a little further on the path towards winning an audition, and yet wondering about that pride. What if I won? What would I be proud of? In what have I invested, what of myself have I given, towards what cause and what purpose? It's something towards which many classical musicians strive, and sometimes I wonder if it isn't blindly that they do so. I don't think I have a passion for orchestral playing. But I think it's a career foundation off of which many other things can be built; teaching, chamber music, community involvement.
I went back today, still feeling sick but better enough to have a little more involvement in the process. And yet still somewhat ambivalent about the outcome. I played well, felt very in control of myself on stage, but I think there is still some more work to do (perhaps which could be helped with some guidance from a professional player).
I feel very happy with the process, and liberated to have had some validation for my work. There is a paradoxical problem with auditions: one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is to believe in oneself, to turn off the mirror that is constantly criticizing and wondering if one is doing is the right thing. One has to play outwardly, but how con one do that until one knows that they are doing it correctly? It's like growing up and learning all the rules for how people conduct themselves in society. It's hard to find comfort and freedom in middle school.
Having passed the first round gave me a feeling of security. In a small way I've earned the right to play freely, to do as I wish and believe. I know it's only a magic power that will last for a short while until it expires and needs to be renewed, which is why this drug of auditions, of validation, continues to continue. In me and others. Even those that win an audition and play in an orchestra are looking for something better and brighter, something bigger, more worthy of filling them with pride, of granting a new dose of freedom.
Is there another way?