Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Audition

It was my first audition in years, and I am so very rusty.  There were three songs to choose from, and she said she wanted us to work on them in advance so that we really knew them when we were auditioning.  After I finally got access to a piano, I came to the conclusion that I really only had time to get one piece truly audition-ready, so I chose the one that I loved when I first heard it and it sent glorious shivers down my spine.  (The other two were ugly in the recordings I heard because they had opera soloists doing the small ensemble parts, but they were terrible at singing together, and it became this horrible contest of every soloist trying to upstage the others and making ugliness instead of music.)  I spent every spare moment of four days lovingly preparing a performance-worthy audition of that song I loved.  I practically had it memorized, and I had all the dynamics and line shaping mapped out.  I was very nearly ready for anything.  It probably would have gone better if that song were actually used for the audition.

Instead, bits of the other two songs were used.  And I had never really heard them, especially not my parts.  And I suck at sight reading.   While the men auditioned elsewhere, I vampired off other ladies who could sight read (music-by-ear is a gift and sometimes a curse) to pick up one of the parts, but then we had to audition, and I was kind of flustered by the new music and focused on somehow trying to give a performance when I'd never even seen it until that day and getting the totally unfamiliar notes right, and I was reminded of why I hated group work in gym class.  Group jump-roping routines, in particular, taught me that being right (on the beat, executing moves properly, etc.) sometimes matters less than blending in (rhymed with giving in and lowest common denominator and failure). 

I wish I had remembered that before I started singing at the audition.  We were auditioning for small group pieces.  Being on the right note on the right dynamic doesn't really matter if others are making a different (wrong) chord, and you are the only one who is right or you are beautifully bringing out the drama of the line as the dynamics are written to shape it, and everyone else is singing the same (wrong) dynamic.

It was hardly an embarrassing disaster.  I wasn't having an asthma attach from other people's perfume.  I didn't totally make a fool of myself.  Things could have been way worse.  So.  I suppose this is a good learning experience.  I need to remember to listen when I am doing group work and blend in.  Someday, maybe I will learn this lesson for real, and it will stick.  Because the Lord knows I'm not an opera soloist, so I have no excuse.