When we address problems as musicians, how do we really begin to to take in all the advice, understanding, knowledge and expertise we’ve been handed? Every day, I play through the Orchestral Excerpts assigned, and the ones I’m working on for auditions. Each day, since my freshman year in college, has been about those excerpts. My countless teachers, their countless pieces of advice begin to form in my head, but sometimes, it hardly makes sense.
My old teacher used to call them the ‘Olympics’ for professional musicians. Now I find myself stuck in semi pro, hoping that someday, I can make it to the torch ceremony. So frustrating, is my practice time now, I find myself almost avoiding the excerpts. Perhaps I’m hoping they’ll go away, or fix themselves. Maybe I’m hoping they will form in my face and fingers, and magically, I will have arrived. Alas, I am found wanting.
My fear manifests itself most in my excerpts class. I sit there, and listen to all the others go before me, and I become tense, and nervous. Feeling judged, not just by my teacher, but my classmates. People who are supposed to be your friends, and colleagues, now become the enemy. The nature of competition, the hunt….it becomes too much to bare. My head begins swirling with images of them laughing at me later; talking about the girl who thinks she can be a good bassoonist, but is clearly kidding herself. Sometimes, all I really want to do, is jump up, run from the room, and never come back.
I know I need to get over this. I need to focus on the task at hand, and me. How do we block out the people around us? How do we find a way to be prepared, and confident in that preparedness? My confidence is waning.