Sharp Left Turn on the Road of Life

15 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Just when I thought that I had all my Row80 ducks in a row, life gives me lemons. Oh, wait. ::grins::

Yes, I’m a professional musician – it’s my bread and butter.


Since the Recession of 2008 it has been thin sliced white bread with margarine – many symphonies have undergone difficulties during this time. Our orchestra declared bankruptcy in 2003 before returning in 2004, so the lean times have been with us even longer.

In the meantime I’ve done myriad things to keep body and soul together, but I recently learned of an opportunity to audition for another orchestra: the Piccolo Chair.

The chances of me winning this audition are slim, even though I’m quite talented. First: it’s been years since I’ve taken an audition, and auditioning is an art unto itself. The more you take, the better you get at it (hopefully, that is). Second: According to the conventional wisdom, auditioning is a young person’s game. I’m fifty-four. That in itself makes it very unlikely that I would be hired, even if I was the ‘best’ player that day. Third: It’s in two weeks, and I just pulled out the excerpts and started to practice on Monday. You read that right. On Monday.

I thought that I wasn’t going to take it, mostly because getting ready for an audition is bloody awful. I absolutely HATE the preparation for an audition: the same X number of orchestral excerpts that I’ve practiced off and on for over thirty years – and they still aren’t perfected (that’s how tricky they are). Not to mention the same solo concerto. (Here’s an AWESOME performance of the one I’m working on. That guy makes me want to cry. He’s amazing.) I have places to go, people to see, A NOVEL TO WRITE… but I found a way (via my Parental Units’ ™ Reward Points) to take the audition for free. How can I not do it? I have no excuse for not practicing – right now my time is my own.

Generally speaking, people will prepare for an audition like this for two-three months. My audition time is June 25th during the 10 am hour. Needless to say, I’m excited. Can I do this? More importantly, can I do this DIFFERENTLY than I’ve ever prepared for an audition before? In the past I ended up tied in knots, and even though I mostly made it to the final round, I didn’t win. I’ve been in the finals/runner up more times than I can remember, for great orchestras: Philly, Boston, Cincy, Dallas, Los Angeles. Orchestras where people make in the six figures.

But this isn’t a six-figure orchestra. That’s fine: it’s still twice what I make here.

The upshot? Row80 goals are out the window. I need my hands for the piccolo this week, and next. I’ll be back for the July 2 opening of Round 3: Row80, the 2012 Edition.



15 responses

15 06 2012
Lorinda J. Taylor

The life of anyone who is involved in competitive situations can never be anything but stressful! Good luck, Julia! Let us know how things turn out! (Is is appropriate to say, break a leg, or is that just for actors? 🙂 )

15 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thanks, Lorinda! Break a leg works, but I usually say ‘split a lip’, which invariably results in a grimace. 🙂

15 06 2012

The best of luck to you!

15 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thx, Sheila!

15 06 2012
Karen McFarland

Hey, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do Julia! We all are in the habit of eating my friend. But somehow I know that you’re going to do well. Forget the ROW this week. Focus and practice on that Piccalo girl! Play it like you’ve never played it before! You can do this Julia! I know that chair is yours! 🙂

15 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thanks, Karen!
No, I won’t do well if I don’t get up off my behind and do what needs doing… but I can’t get going today! AAAUGH! (though I did manage to bathe the dog…)

Okay, I’m going to brush my teeth and get the flute out.

Just. Do. It!

15 06 2012

Good luck, J! I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts!

15 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thanks, Alcie! I’m biting my nails down to nubs!

15 06 2012
KM Huber

There’s a very good chance that regardless of the outcome this may be an audition that requires less of you, mainly because you have auditioned so many times previous. You know so trust what you know.Play from your heart so your head will be still.

“Split a lip” and let us know.

15 06 2012
Julia Indigo

I will, Karen, I will.
After all these years, I just cannot give it what I used to. I went over 5 years with hardly practicing in my late forties, and I don’t have the stamina anymore. But when I’m on top of my game, I’m very very good.

“Play from your heart so your head will be still.” I love that! Thanks!

17 06 2012
Ginny Bales

Split a lip, Julia! Practice intelligently and then bring everything you are to your audition.

18 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thanks, Ginny!
Intelligent practicing is the answer. That, and staying calm.

20 06 2012
Matthew Wright

Good luck!

21 06 2012
Julia Indigo

Thanks, Matthew!

21 06 2012
The End is in Sight « Julia Indigo

[…] end is in sight, and no, not the end of my first draft! The end of the Sharp Left Turn that I mentioned the other day. I leave for the audition on Saturday, whether or not I’m […]

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