Appreciable progress

This has been an interesting week. On Sunday I auditioned for a community orchestra in NYC. I only found out about this audition the Thursday evening before the audition so I didn’t have much time to work anything up. I had already put away the pieces I played for my jury exam last December and hadn’t looked at them at all since so I opted for the first movement of Strauss 1 which I will be playing for my May jury. The beginning was in pretty good shape but the fast section still needed some work, well okay, a lot of work. I also selected three excerpts – two that I worked on for Jeff Nelson’s Fearless Camp back in August and one that my horn teacher gave me Saturday during an extra lesson to prep for the audition.

I spent hours working on the Strauss but I realized, very happily, that the excerpts that I had already worked on were much, much easier to play. This is one of the first times that I could absolutely tell that I had measurably improved over the past six months. I had interpretive issues to work on but the notes and rhythms were just there. It was a nice surprise. The new excerpt Mahler 1, third movement, was also learnable by Sunday. I worked on it at my lesson late Saturday afternoon and once again practicing Sunday morning.

At the audition, another surprise. I wasn’t anywhere near as nervous as I have been in the past. I’ve spent a lot of time working on overcoming performance anxiety and it’s starting to pay off. Fearless Camp, performance anxiety therapy sessions, reading books on anxiety, and just performing at school, have all contributed to less nerves. I think because I was less nervous I played a great audition. Clearly the best I’ve ever done. I even played the fast section of the Struass very decently and no misses on the excerpts, even the new one. I have no idea if I’ll get in to the orchestra because I don’t know what level of player they are looking for but I know that I did as well as I could. It was very nice to walk out of there with a ‘yes, I did it’ feeling.

The other good thing was at Monday night’s band rehearsal. We had just done our winter concert so we had all new music to sight read. I had no problems with it. None. I found the selections fairly easy and other long term members of the band were complaining that the conductor picked hard music. Here was more proof of my continuing improvement.

Finally, in Wind Ensemble at school we are playing Festive Overture. I ‘played’, and I say that very loosely, Festive about a year ago in my community band and I really, really struggled through it. Not now. There are a few really fast runs that I have to work on but I’ve already got them in my fingers. I can really tell that there is a huge difference between last year and now.

3 thoughts on “Appreciable progress

  1. I’m so glad you’re back writing the blog, as I discovered you last fall when you were taking a break.

    I started playing the horn again after 35 years away…I’m 56 and I have been playing anew since last September. I’m still working full-time, so I don’t have a ton of time to practice, but I am enjoying it a great deal and playing in a very decent community band.
    I’m also taking lessons and wondering “where will I go with all this.”

    Unlike you, I WAS a music major in college but never finished. I wonder if I would like to go back and finish my degree. Something to think a lot about. But for now I’m enjoying playing the horn, practicing, and also spending some time getting back to the piano.

    Thanks for your blog; it’s very enjoyable and I’m encouraged at your success!

    Like

    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks for writing! I got really overwhelmed with school last fall. I’ve gotten into more of a routine now so I plan to write about every two weeks. It’s great that you started up again. Use whatever time you have to practice and enjoy it. I’ve found that going back to school is a great thing to do after retirement. And if you do go back to school you will have to take piano!
      Sincerely,
      Tina

      Like

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