Week 1: Work on micro sections of the excerpts and start building the mental strength to play each excerpt perfectly.
Day 1- Today I prepared myself for the next month of practicing for two job auditions coming up in October. between the two auditions I have to prepare seventeen excerpts and two solos. So I have broken down every excerpt into smaller sections only a measure or two long sometimes a whole phrase if breaking it down further didn't make sense. In my practice today I made sure to work on just fundamentals of tonguing and creating a pure tone. I also made sure to listen to all of my excerpts in order to have the correct style in my head when I go to practice them. Through this journey it is important to keep your mind set on winning the job regardless of if you're having a good or bad day. This is a mental challenge just as much as it is a contest of musicianship. Tomorrow marks day two of the journey to win the job.
Day 2 - I worked on the first smaller section of each excerpt today. I made sure to spend ten minutes on each excerpt with a five minute break between each one. This break is very important because it gives the face a chance to rest but it also give the brain a chance to do something other focus on the details of each excerpt. For example, today during my breaks I would talk with friends and I even learned some fun facts about snapping turtles. I was in a very small practice room today so I mainly focused on my articulation and style while playing in tune with myself. At the end of my practice today I really started to fell fatigued mentally and slightly physically. I had done this process before winning my position with the Loudoun Symphony and today was a reminder of just how draining this can be and that this is mostly a mental game. Overall I spent four and a half hours practicing today and now I'm one step closer on the journey to winning the job.
Day 3 - Today was the second day of working on the small sections of each excerpt following the model of ten minutes working on the section with five minutes break in between. I really felt the fatigue physically while I was practicing. It definitely didn't help that today I landed on the section of Bolero with the repeated D-flats at the end of my practice for the day. To keep myself on my toes today I started the day with the audition packet for the job coming up later in the month of October and then worked on the packet for the audition on the first. in order to make this process a little easier on myself I made sure to take a nice long break between the packets to eat a light lunch and read. At the end of my practice today while I did feel physically tired in my chops I didn't feel as mentally tired, that was until I jot to my teaching gig an hour away from home. This just goes to show that I am still building the mental and physical stamina to be rock solid on all of these excerpts. Tomorrow I have a lesson and work so it could be difficult to practice in the prime time of my mental strength so I'l really need to keep an eye on my mentality. Overall today I spent five hours practicing and I look forward to tomorrow's step in this long journey.
Day 4 - Today I took a break from my micro work on excerpts and revisited the macro view of each excerpt. I find this to be a very important thing to do from time to time because after spending a lot of time working in very small chunks it's very easy to lose sight of the over all aspect of the excerpt. Since I didn't have to spend as much time on each excerpt I spent a little more time working on my solos for the auditions. I spent a lot of time figuring out how I as an artist want to play these solos and make a personal connection with each piece and phrase. Today was a much easier day both physically and mentally since I wasn't in the routine of the last couple days. These little break days are very important because this in depth work requires a lot of energy that doesn't just get recharged with one nights worth of rest and if you go too long it is very easy to become burnt out. The primary goal of this process is do intense meticulous work while making sure to take care of your body and mental state. If health is not a high priority than it will be very hard to give the best performance at the audition. Overall today I spent four hours practicing to take the next step in this journey.
Day 5 - Today was a very hard day to go through the process for all of the excerpts. Realizing this I decided to focus on just the five excerpts that I was least familiar with or had the most issues with. I spent a lot of time listening to different examples of these excerpts being played and I spent my ten minutes on and five minutes off routine working on all of the chunks in these couple of excerpts. I felt like this was much easier than getting bogged down mentally working on the chunks of excerpts I already know very well. This was a very helpful practice session and after I finished working on the small chunks of each excerpt I ran the excerpt from start to finish and could really hear the difference. Overall today I spent three hours and twenty minutes practicing and took another step closer to winning the job.
Day 6 - Today was a hard day to get a lot of personal practice time so I made to make sure the time I did have was put to good use. I ran through the excerpts that I worked on yesterday to see how well the practice from yesterday sank in and I have to say it sank in fairly well. There were a couple of issues but nothing a couple minutes of polishing couldn't fix. After checking these excerpts I went through my routine on a couple of excerpts I know well to really make sure they're spot on. There were times where this got a bit mind numbing so any time I felt like this I would put a pause on what I was working on to do some mindful breathing. After I took about a minute to do this I reminded myself that this is the type of hard work I had to put in in order to really stand out in an audition and that if I felt bored then I need to raise my standards on my playing. Today was a real test on my mental toughness and how I could use my limited amount of time to it's maximum efficiency. I only spent about two hours practicing today but in that time I could feel myself take that small baby step on this life long journey.
Day 7 - The end of Week One. Today I took it easier on myself in my practice session. I played through every excerpt to see how they were progressing and took note of the small chunks that felt like they needed the most work in the coming week. Once I went through both packets I spent time focusing on my weakest excerpt. I listened to a couple recording of the excerpt. I found that the recordings on Ralph Sauer's CD "Orchestral Excerpts for Trombone with spoken commentary"to be the most hopeful. These recordings can be found easily on YouTube and I would high recommend these recordings to any one trying to get a great sense of how to play these excerpts for auditions. Another important thing Have done today was make sure my horn was completely clean. I cleaned out the lead pipe and put new slide lubricant on my slide as well as polished my horn. I find it important to clean out the lead pipe of your instrument regularly because it's very easy for food to get into out instruments and after awhile it can start to affect how the horn responds. As far as polishing goes I just feel better and as a result play better when my horn is clean and shining. Doing these little things can help you to have a better mind set when you practice and play since music is such a mental game for performers. Today I only practiced for about two hours again as I wanted to give my mind a chance to rest from the week of hard work experiencing this amazing journey.
Week 2: Continue working on the micro sections of each excerpt but start putting a couple of the sections together in order to start getting a feeling for the flow of each excerpt. Start preparing yourself for the nerves you are going to feel in the audition and visualize the panel in front of you in a space much bigger than you are practicing in.
Day 8 - Today is a complete rest day from the process. I took today to really focus on relaxing and to do things outside of music that I enjoy doing. I spent a lot of time talking to friends and even spent some time reading. I did practice a little today but I made sure only to work on my fundamentals and did not even look at the auditions packets. These days are very important because as an artist we can get tunnel vision on our end goal but lose sight of all the beautiful things going on around us. Taking a day out of the week to spend appreciating what is around us now will only help us to become more inspired artists and be able to tell even more beautiful stories through our art of music. I find that these days are the days I make the biggest strides in playing. I only spent an hour and a half practicing today and look forward to this next week of progressing down the path of my journey in not only winning the job, but as an artist.
Day 9 - Today I took the time to have a long and slow warm up to get my face feeling very good. I had the opportunity to practice in a concert hall today so I made sure to take advantage of this time to run through all of my excerpts in a much bigger space than I have been practicing in for the last week. I had originally planned to keep up the routine of working on small chunks of the excerpts for ten minutes but this was too good of an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I used this time to work on running through each excerpt and visualizing myself playing for a panel in the biggest hall I have experienced auditioning in. I spent some time working on making sure the correct style of each excerpt is coming across in this big space. What I did was set up my stand and chair at the back of the stage and set a recorder out half way into the audience. I would run through an excerpt a couple of times fixing the things I could hear from my side of the horn and then I would go out to my recorder and and listen to what I sounded like out in the hall. This type is practicing is extremely important because after listening to the audience perspective I could hear a couple things in my playing that were inconsistent with the style I thought I was playing with. I spent four hours in total practicing today and really felt my self take a big step on this journey.
Day 10 - Today was a very hard day mentally. I went through my normal routine in a small practice room and compared to being in the concert hall yesterday it was a very different experience. I found myself focusing more on very small details and having these detail define if I played the excerpt successfully. I also have started to practice each excerpt at three different tempos. The first tempo is the tempo I am going to play it at the audition and is where I spend most of my time. The second tempo is at a faster tempo than where it feels completely comfortable and the third tempo is significantly slower than the excerpt will be performed. I do this so that when I play an excerpt with the section and their tempo is slightly faster than what I took it at playing by myself it's not an issue and is still fairly comfortable for me to play. Slowing down the excerpt helps me to be able to focus on smaller and larger details at the same time while I'm playing and really let playing the excerpt perfectly sink into my muscle memory. I practiced for about four hours today and while it was hard to fell like I made progress today I know I took just another small step on this journey.
Day 11 - Today I had my lesson and with the help of my amazing professor I discovered a lot about my playing. I didn't get to practice as much as I wanted today but I made a lot of progress as an artist today and am really starting to feel how far I have come on my journey. I spent a lot of time focusing on my time today. I have a tendency to rush the end of my phrases, especially on fast technical passages. So, I made sure to have my metronome playing as loud as I could get it and tried to lay back at the end of phrases in my fast technical excerpts. Something that really helps me as well is to focus on my articulations and making sure they are all exactly the same and occur at exactly the same frequency. When I do this I can actually feel my body relax and my mind settle down which really helps me overall because I struggle with some anxiety while I play, which I think we all struggle with occasionally if not all the time. Today I only practiced for two hours but I really felt myself grow today and take another solid set on this journey to win a job.
Day 12 - Today I had a very good day of practice. I was nervous in the beginning because I was making some strange mistakes in my warm up, but once I started working on the excerpts I had no issues. I spent my time today with a focus on tempo and style. Once I started the metronome I didn't turn it off even during my rest time. Time seems to be the area I struggle with the most as an overall concept of my playing and I have found that when I just leave the metronome on it really helps me to own the time. Today I have also started focussing my time on one audition packet since I have a two week gap between auditions next month I will have enough time to spend in the details of some of the different excerpts that are in the second audition. This does two things for me: One, it lets me focus more time and energy on the excerpts that are coming up sooner; Two I can spend more time outside of the practice room mentally preparing for the audition. Some things I do to mentally prepare myself are visualize walking onto the stage and how I want to feel, mentally play through all of my excerpts in the audition space, repeat to myself the following "I am a great artist and no one can play they way I do. I will be the next "insert job position here."I am the winner of this audition the panel just doesn't know it yet." Doing this helps me to visualize a positive outcome of the audition. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what you will do should you not win the audition but the answer to the question is so simple you'll just keep doing what you've been doing. Instead start asking what are you going to when you win the job? I have found that doing this gets me into a positive mindset and makes the whole audition process much more pleasant and far less stressful. Today I took another step on this long and beautiful journey and spent three and half hours practicing.
Day 13 - Today was a hard day to stay faithful to the process. I felt like I sounded very good today but as a result I really wanted to run through my excerpts. Today I practiced in the trombone studio so I was able to have a drone playing while I practiced so I focused mostly on tuning today. Another thing that I was able to do was after working on my small chunks I would play through the whole excerpt along with my favorite recording of the just the trombone section playing the excerpt or the whole orchestra. Doing this helps to give you an edge because even though you may have never performed these excerpts with a group before you can still experience playing the excerpt in context of the section or whole orchestra. How well you know the context of the excerpt is equally as important if not more important than know the excerpt itself. If you play like you are in the section you are more likely to be hired to be in the section. Today I spent about three and half hours practicing and took another step on this lifelong journey.
Day 14 - Today was a very busy day for me as I spent the day with the band I work with at their first competition. As a result I didn't have much time to be able to practice my excerpts. What I did instead was I used this time to do a run through of the audition packet like it was an actual audition. I didn't have time to get a good warm up in which is something that can happen on audition day. While I ran through my packet I felt very uncomfortable with my playing and like I didn't have much control. As a result it felt like all of the excerpts started with a question mark instead of just stating that this is the excerpt. For this next week I'm going to try to put myself at a disadvantage when I run through my excerpts like not getting a full warm up or simulating nerves before I start playing. I may have only gotten one run through in today but I feel like i learned a lot to help my take a big step on my journey.
Week 3: This week's focus is on putting all of the small chunks into context of the excerpt. I will spend time running the excerpts and the go back and work on an small chunks that weren't up to par with the rest of the excerpt. Another key to this week is playing the excerpts in context with the orchestra. This can be done by playing with recordings or getting a group of trombonist together to play the excerpts with a section.
Day 15 - Today was a rest day from the process so I made sure to stay away from any temptation to play the excerpts. I spent the day relaxing with some friends and when I got home that night I just went through my warm up and technique routine. As I've said before these rest day are important to keep from burning out but it is important to play something in order to prevent a set back in your playing that isn't normal. I also use these days of rest to help simulate what I will most likely experience before my audition as I will be driving almost all day the Sunday before the audition and will likely only be able to squeeze in a warm up that day. Overall I only spent about an hour on my horn today, but I look forward to the strides I will make on my journey this coming week.
Day 16 - Today was a far busier day than I expected it to be. I didn't get a solid amount of time to practice. Instead of getting frustrated about this I used it to my advantage. I used the little amount of time I had to practice playing the excerpts cold. I would do minimal warm up and just run down a couple of excerpts. I split up the excerpts into groups based off of when they would typically be asked in an audition first round, second round, and so on. I would run down one round of excerpts then go do what I needed to get done at that moment then come back to a most likely freezing cold horn and play the next round. In an audition you never actually know how much time you will have to warm up. The panel could be running behind and you have extra time or they could be running ahead of schedule and you only have a few minutes to warm up and be ready to play. This is why this type of practicing is important to work up after all if you can play the excerpt down when you're cold and nothing feels good but it sounds just as good as when you're warmed up and ready to go you'll never have to worry about being rushed or not having enough time to warm up. This whole week will consist of this type of practicing in order to be sure that you will give your best performance on audition day. I didn't take the biggest step today on my journey and I don't plan to take large steps at all this week as it will be a week up putting myself at a disadvantage when I play.
Day 17 - Today was a day of frustration. I didn't get to practice nearly as much as I wanted to and when I did get to play it was at the end of a long day for only thirty minutes. Things I learned from this is that playing after a day of stress always makes me feel better but my playing took longer than usual to set in. On audition day there will be plenty of stress going on so this day was helpful in that I experienced the stress and frustration now and have a better idea of how to manage it to my benefit. Today was definitely a rough ride on this journey.
Day 18 - Today was a very strange day of not a lot of practice but making a lot of break throughs in my playing. I had my lesson in the morning and I made a break through in my low range which has been an issue with my playing for as long as I can remember. It's been slowly getting better but thanks to help my professor I had a break through that has completely changed my low register. I also had my first rehearsal with the Loudoun Symphony today, during which I had a break through in my role in the section and playing in a professional orchestra and how I'm really not using my air the way I should be at times. All of this translated into my late night run through of my audition excerpts and I really felt aware of the changes I was making. I did this late night run through at the end of my day when I was mentally drained for a couple of reasons. The first reason was that I wanted to try and apply the changes I had made with my playing through out the day. The second reason was that I wanted to go through these excerpts when I was majorly mentally and physically fatigued. You never know how you're going to feel on audition day you could be having the best day ever or you could be sick and exhausted, but how you feel isn't going to affect how the panel listens to you. I do this week of putting myself at a disadvantage in order practice playing at my best even when I'm not feeling my best, so that I play the same regardless of how I feel at the audition. Today I took a strong mental step further on this journey of a lifetime.
Day 19 - Today was a day that I actually had plenty of time to practice which is has been out of the norm for this week so far. What I did today was a worked on my physical endurance. I played through all of the solos I am working on currently before I even touched an excerpt. I have three solos I am currently working on so what I did was I played through one piece took about two to four minutes to get water and change music and the played the next piece. Once I played all three solos I immediately started running down my excerpt packet. by the time I was done playing the packet I could really feel the fatigue in my chops so I took about fifteen minutes to rest drink water and not touch my horn. After that I read through the packet again. This was a very hard day on my face but this week is all about putting myself at a disadvantage and overcoming it. I do not recommend doing this very often because it is very taxing. Taking care of yourself to prevent injuries is very important and doing this type of endurance work is important but it can be easily over done. I do this type of endurance work maybe once every three or four days, but when i first started doing this I would only do it once a week. Today was a hard day but I could feel that next step taken on the road of this journey.
Day 20 - Today was a very interesting day. I taught three masterclasses in the morning through the afternoon at a local high school and then had some time between teaching those masterclasses and working with the marching band I help teach brass for. When I practiced today I focused on how I started each excerpt. I want to make sure each start of an excerpt is immediately in the correct style, tone, and tempo. While I was practicing could really start to feel the mental fatigue from teaching all morning start to creep in about half way through my practice session. What I did to combat this was I started to take a little longer between excerpts to think through the next excerpt and make sure it started absolutely perfect. I noticed while I did this that my rate of mental fatigue started to slow down. This is most likely because taking more time to think through the excerpt before playing decreases the amount of mental stamina used when playing the excerpt because i already know exactly how I'm go to play from beginning to end before the horn is on my face. This is something I already knew about before this but I believe just completely forgot about doing or took for granted. Adding a little more time between playing an excerpt to prepare yourself mentally is only going to help you feel calmer and perform better. I feel that we tend to get anxious when there is a long silence between excerpts in both the practice room and on the audition, but taking this time to really prepare yourself mentally is only going to help you perform better and more confidently. Today I didn't feel like I took a huge step on this journey but the realization I made today will definitely help me to take longer strides in the future.
Day 21 - Today was my rest day for the coming week due to spending the day at the high school I work with and not having time to play my horn. I used today to enjoy teaching the kids I work with and spend time with my other staff members at the school and just relax. This coming week is going to be stressful enough with it being the last week before the audition but I will also be rehearsing everyday with my school's symphony orchestra for a concert next weekend. I did spend some time listening to my excerpts today so that I didn't spend the day completely away from audition prep. Today I took a nice relaxed step on my journey.
Week 4 - This week is all about practicing the audition and self care. I will be practicing my excerpts in front of as many people as I can and have whoever is listening to me choose a random order for the excerpts to be played in. At the audition the excerpts are never ask for in the order you are given in the packet so it's important to play them in random orders so you are prepared for what that can mean for how taxing the excerpts will be on your face. Self care is vital this week because if you don't take of yourself by getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating in a healthy way you won't be at your best on the audition day and we don't need anything outside of our nerves causing issues on that day.
Day 22 - Today I had a performance with the Shenandoah Trombone Collective at Towson University for the Eastern Trombone Workshop. I started my day by eating a small breakfast of fruit and making sure I only ate food when I felt hungry the rest of the day. I made sure I got between eight and eight and half hour of sleep last night and did some physical activity this morning. After getting back home I worked on my excerpts by playing them half tempo and mezzo forte so I could focus on the timing and feeling relaxed while I play them. Today I only practiced for an hour but that hour helped me to take another solid step on my journey.
Day 23 - Today I had the opportunity to play in the concert hall. I approached this practice as an audition performance. I split up my excerpts into different rounds and would walk off and on to the stage between each round. I also would play each excerpt twice. Once at half tempo or just slower than I would normally play the excerpt since some of the excerpts are already very slow and the second time would be at the correct tempo. As far as my self care for today went I started my day with some light exercise and light breakfast. I took care of a lot of work I needed to get done for this week after I practiced so I could spend the rest of the week not having to worry about it. I also spent some time today just talking with my friends about things that are going on and just enjoying their company. I got eight hours and fifteen minutes of sleep last night and I have set a goal to drink about sixty four ounces of water today. The key for setting a water goal is to not force yourself to drink water. If you meet this goal that's awesome, but if you don't that's ok too. Our bodies are very good about telling us exactly when we need to drink water and if we try to force ourselves to drink to much we will just end up feeling sick. Hydration is important but too much of a good thing is always bad. Today I practiced for three and a half hours and I can feel all the work I have done so far on this journey starting to come to fruition.
Day 24 - Today was a day that I pushed my endurance. I ran through everything I am currently working on at least twice if not three times. My focus while I was practicing is just to polish up each excerpt and paying attention to the small details. My goal is to play each excerpt as just that an excerpt from the whole piece. The excerpt is to be played as it would be played with the rest of the orchestra playing, with musicality and phrasing. I'm also spending a lot of time this week playing the excerpts with different recordings of orchestras in order to hear the the excerpt in context with orchestra. To continue with the self care this week I made sure to get eight hours of sleep last night and continued doing light exercise first thing in the morning. My goal is still to drink about 64 ounces of water each day and I'm eating in a much healthier way. As a result from doing this self care I have felt myself have more energy through out the day and my general mental state is on a much more positive level. Today I practiced for four hours and I feel myself taking a solid step on the road of this journey.
Day 25 - Today I had my lesson and I paid particular to my self care. During my lesson I played through all of my excerpts and now have a better idea of how to put the final polish on each excerpt. I feel very confident in my playing and find myself really enjoying the sounds I'm making while I play. My practice today was spent mostly in polishing up each excerpt so I didn't run through each excerpt like an audition today, which is fine because I feel like I made some good improvements on each excerpt. For my self care today I continued my morning routine of light exercise first thing after I wake up. I also made sure to set up my apartment last night so that this morning I just had to follow my routine and I would have everything where I needed it to be for this morning. I treated myself today to some of my favorite food and spent some time just talking with some friends. Due to having a double orchestra rehearsal today I didn't get as much time to practice as I would have liked but I still got in about an hours worth of practice in. I can't wait to see the next milestone in my journey soon and I look forward to the experience it will bring.
Day 26 - Today was another busy day for me with teaching masterclasses all day and having a sitzprobe at night. I again didn't get to practice as much as I wanted to but in the time that I was able to practice I used it playing my excerpts at half speed an polishing how each note in the excerpt should sound when played in context. For some of my faster more technically challenging excerpts I spent some time working on the end of the technical passage so that the notes lead into the next phrase and sound more musical. I noticed today I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted and I could feel it in my playing. I felt off and I over all just didn't have the best day because I fell off my habit of self care that I have been building. Fortunately tomorrow I will be able to catch up on that sleep I didn't get last night and will hopefully feel better. Today I felt like took a slight step backwards but a step is still a step on this journey.
Day 27 - Today I was able to practice more than I did the last couple days. I decided to take a break from excerpt practice today and decided to focus on my technique and fundamentals. I spent most of my time working out the Arbans book to work on my double and triple tonguing. While I working on this I wanted my work to be more practical to my more technical excerpts so I decide to add phrasing into each exercise to make it more musical and less of an exercise. Doing things like this helps me to get a break from the grind of excerpt preparation while still making progress on polishing my excerpts. Today I also did a lot of playing since after I practiced I then had a reading session with the Valley Bones for all of the new music we got for our different sets. For my continued work on self care I am continuing to eat healthily, get as much sleep as I can and continue to drink about 64 ounces of water a day. I practiced for about two and half hours and even though I didn't practice my excerpts I still felt that I took a solid step on this life long journey.
Day 28 - Today I had a bit of a rest day from practicing due to having a concert with the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. So what I did today was practice how I would need to warm up very quickly in a situation where I needed to play my best but only have about fifteen minutes to actually warm up. I was very happy with how I handle this warm up. I did some glissing and long tones to start, followed by some low range tone building, and then some chord tuning. I then went through some lips slurs starting with basic patterns and then a couple of fast flexibility slurs and ended with playing some max volume scales. I went into the dress rehearsal this morning with my face feeling the best it had felt in awhile and I only warmed up for fifteen minutes. This is definitely something I struggled with during some of my early auditions in the past, but now I have found a good quick warm up. I didn't practice my excerpts today in order to give my face as much of a rest as possible before the coming couple of days travel and practice since my audition is now only three days away. I feel like things are falling into place now and I can see the road much better now than I could earlier in my journey.
Day 29 -. Today was a travel day for me. I did a small warm up in the morning before starting my eight hour drive to Indiana. I know I won't be able to practice as much as I want to the next couple of days so it's important to play when I can. While I traveled I listened to all of my excerpts in context with the orchestra so that I could do some mental reps along with the recordings. I find doing these things help me because I don't want to lose a day of practice to traveling so mental reps and visualizing helps make up for the fact that I probably won't have hours to myself to practice once I get to where I'm staying for the audition. I'm very lucky to have a friend that goes to school close to my audition so I can spend the next couple of days with her and be able to practice in a practice room rather than a hotel room. My advice for traveling to an audition is this. If you cross a time zone to get to the location you should try to get there a couple days before your audition. This lets your body get over the time difference and also gives you some time to enjoy the location where you could be living in the near future. If you're not leaving your time zone I would still suggest getting there two days before your audition so that you can be completely rested from traveling possible multiple hours to get to the location. I'm very lucky to have access to practice rooms while I'm staying for my audition but if you don't have access to them you can always ask the front desk at your hotel if they have open meeting rooms for you to practice in or you can email local schools and churches to see if they have space to practice in. Having a space to practice in is very important because you don't want to risk not being able to play your horn until you get to the audition. Today I was able to practice some when I got to my friends apartment and I was a little frustrated with my playing but I was also in a very different practice space than Im used to and was fairly dehydrated from my drive. I look forward to this next miles stone coming up in two days and to see where it takes me.
Day 30 - Tomorrow is the day of the audition so today I'm not trying to push myself when I practice. I ran through all of my excerpts and did some small polishing. i was much happier with my playing today even though I still haven't quite gotten used to the practice rooms so I'm not very sure how i'm sounding tone quality wise but it was much better than yesterday. I once again ran through my excerpts once in the afternoon and did some small polishing work. Tonight I will run through some of the typical first round excerpts and possibly do some small polishing on some of the excerpts that will be expected in the later rounds. I'm making sure to not really think to much about the audition and enjoy my time with my friend. When I do think about the audition I visualize myself playing my absolute best and how it will feel to win the audition. I repeat to myself "I will be the next principal trombonist of this orchestra," a few times each our to keep myself from visualizing negative outcomes because if you go into the audition with a negative mindset the results will almost always be negative. I spent some time talking with my professor as well today and after talking with him I feel much better about my audition tomorrow and am looking forward to what the results will be. Tomorrow is the day the end of this journey and the start of the next.
Audition Day - It's been a little over a week since I took my audition which has given me some time to reflect on how I felt about the audition. On the day of the audition I had some issues before I even got to the audition site with my phone not loading the directions to the concert hall and feeling very hungry before the audition. This threw me off before I even got close to auditioning. Fortunately, when I got to the audition I had ample amounts of time before my audition to relax and grab a small snack to settle my stomach. When I was placed in my first warm up room I did some of my warm up exercises and a couple of lip slurs. I also touched a couple spots in my excerpts but made sure to not play above a mezzo forte. I tried to only play when I felt myself getting tight so I spent a lot of time off my horn. When I was moved into my second warm up room back stage I did a run through of the first round excerpts and then set my horns down to keep from overplaying. When I was told I was next I did some long tones to loosen myself back up and was ready for the audition. When I went out on stage I was surprised to notice that I didn't feel nervous at all. This was very different from my previous auditions where the walk on stage felt like the most daunting experience and where I felt my body physically tense up. When I started to play my excerpts I felt in complete control and was very happy with how I was sounding. There was an instance of a very strange mistake that I had never made before and will probably never make again on an excerpt which threw me off for the rest of the audition. While I did not advance I still felt like this audition has been my best one yet as far as how I felt before, during, and after. What I learned from this experience is that I need to work on not letting a mistake that had never happened before affect my mindset for the excerpts that come after it. I spent the rest of the day enjoying time with my friend and starting preparations for my next audition in a couple weeks. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with the outcome but this is just another mile stone on this long journey to win the job.
This is my final entry in this blog so thank you to everyone who has read this far! I hope that whoever is reading this has found something useful to take out of this and if you have any questions or comments about my preparations and why I do this I would love to hear from you!