OMG…I can’ t believe I haven’t written since New Years!!! I have ignored this blog for too long! Life get’s incredibly busy here in Texas.
So, I did my first Doctoral recital in April, and I had forgotten how much I like putting together a recital. I also forgot how much work it is. On top of two ensembles, classes, and teaching, I was extremely busy. I feel like I made more reeds per day than I’ve made in my life. But the recital turned out pretty well, I thought. A few hiccups, but I was mostly happy. No. 2 will be in October!
I also did my first real audition. I auditioned on Contra and bassoon III for the Colorado Symphony. I didn’t make it through, but I had such a blast, and I learned so much for the next one, that I don’t regret it at all.
1) I learned that Contra excerpts are longer, and harder than almost any of the regular bassoon excerpts I’ve played. Contra is also an extremely hard instrument to control with intonation and tone. It enjoys it’s freedom a little too much for my taste.
2) I also learned not to practice one excerpt more than the others. I know this seems like a no brainer, but the one I was worried about, and practiced a whole bunch….it didn’t even get put on the first list. So then I was twice as nervous, because I felt a little less prepared than I originally thought I was.
3) I learned that being on a giant stage, all by yourself, is probably the most exhilarating and ridiculous sensation I have ever experienced. I was also far too loud to be by myself (maybe?).
4) I also learned that I should have asked the monitor before I went out there if I could play a couple notes. In my excitement to get out there, I forgot to ask that, and I regret it now.
5) It was so much fun, and it was only about an hour of my life (aside from travel).
When I left Texas though, I was pretty sure the audition was cursed…….
I had terrible reed problems (that damn Mother Goose Suite) the couple days before, but we fixed them that day before I left. Then…I didn’t get to leave texas until 3 o’clock pm. Which meant I wouldn’t get to Denver until 3 o’clock am the next morning. But I figured I would be fine, as I was leaving Thursday afternoon, and the audition was Monday.
I got a flat tire. In the middle of no where. Three hours from Denver. 1 o’clock am.
So I had to call a tow truck, and get someone to change the tire. This took an hour. Then, I realized that I could only travel at 60 mph on the doughnut. What would have been another three hours turned into five hours. I didn’t get into Denver until almost 6:30 am. Well, I slept for a few hours, and then I had to go get the contra I was borrowing from my alma mater (I’m from Colorado….it helps to know people).
Then I realized that the contra was way different than the one I had in Texas. That crazy alternate E flat key? Yeah…you know the one….was now in the front, not in the back with the other thumb keys. And you know us bassoonists, we love us some thumb keys. So, that was different, and I had to learn intonation issues all over again.
Not only was I once again a mile above sea level, instead of only 1000 feet, (or in Baltimore, 80), but then……it rained.
It got cold.
And then it rained.
And I didn’t know what to do with my reeds. All of a sudden they were flat, and wonky, and had this weird sound in the G at the top of the staff, and I couldn’t get them to stop doing it….
Ya’ll…..I ruined my best contra reed. I was devastated. I texted Ms. Reynolds in frantic mode (she’s used to my frantic texts….I only text her when I’m frantic), and she told me to check some things, and my B reed suddenly became my A reed, and I felt better about things.
The next morning, I went and did the audition, and had sooooooo much fun. All the orchestra admins were very sweet, and the other bassoonists, while awkward, were nice.
Even though I didn’t make it, I feel like I accomplished something by just getting out there and doing it. I know by the 30th audition I’ll probably look back on this post and be like “You were and idiot”, but for right now, I’m pretty happy with what I did. I have sent in my resume for a couple more auditions, and we will see how those go. I’m going to keep learning!