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Audition Challenge Week 8

We're closing in on when I would normally START preparing an audition! Hooray!

This week, in addition to struggling with the usual issues I have with these pieces, I had been struggling with my flute. When things aren't sealing, no amount of clean finger work or air control is going to fix the problem. What we tend to forget is that the flute is a mechanical instrument. Our bodies/air act as the motor, but we use a simple system of buttons and levers to create different pitches. When the buttons don't close correctly and the levers need oil, the motor isn't of much importance, right? My appointment finally came up with the flute doctor and for the last week+ I have had the delightful privilege of dealing with a rental! I admit, I feel really fortunate that my headjoint fits in the body of this rental, but after about 10 days or so I can say without a doubt that I really hate this flute. It's not a bad flute, per se, but it's not mine. The sound is stuffy, the pitch is wonky, it doesn't respond well all the time, and it too seems like it's not 100% sealing. But I can get through everything I need to work on with roughly the same level of distraction, which is all anyone can ask for I guess.

Complaints aside, I feel like I was playing a little bit of catch up this week. I think my mind was all like "Umm, I'm kind of tired now, and I'm not really feeling this, so I'mma just kill your motivation, k?"

I decided it would be wise to listen to my mind in this instance, as this is a marathon after all. Hills and valleys, my friends. Hills and valleys. I feel like things are in a pretty good place for this stage of the game, so I'm focussing on little things, 10 minutes at a time. Most of my effort is going in to starting each excerpt. My goal for this audition is to be able to start each piece in character from the first note. In order to do this, I have to be mentally in character before the flute reaches my lips - it's what I was trying to accomplish with this weeks video. Not sure it came across that way, but this is a process and starting now I should be able to do it by the big day.

As for the rest of this, I need to do just a tad more rhythm work. I think I'm spending too much time trying to get the beautiful sound I'm chasing and I'm habitually late coming in on the next beat. And you know, not losing my focus towards the end of long excerpts and totally forgetting where I am. One day I will be like Mary J. Blige and do everything perfectly in a single take, but that day is not today.

The woman is a legend, she doesn't have time for my whining. You can totally see from her face she's just like "girl, go PRACTICE!"

I feel like I'm coming across pretty negatively about this whole process, which isn't at all true! I think I have a hard time giving myself a break even when I know I need it. I've gotten better about giving myself those days when I need them, but the guilt is still there. It's that mentality that there's always somebody out there practicing when you're on a break, who's just working that much harder, who wants it more. Then I hear interviews of Olympians saying "We train 4 hours a day, 6 days a week." and I'm like, well if they can win gold medals and still take a day off, surely I can too! It's a mental shift for me that I'm trying to stay committed to, and every time I feel like I slipped up I go back to the old me.

With that all in mind, I'm pretty glad next week I only have one piece on the docket - my favourite nightmare fuel, Leonore no.3. I've been using the opening scale as one of my exercises every day, so it feels like one less thing to worry about. I hope for next week to take it a little easier and play along with some of my favourite recordings. Partially because it helps put things in context when I can hear the rest of the orchestra around me, partially because it's fun, but mostly because it's the only way I'm ever going to be conducted by Claudio Abbado.

"I see you over there. Go practice."

Next week is Leonore no.3 and **possibly** a short mock audition. We'll see how I feel. Maybe I'll do Leonore, do a bunch of jumping jacks and run up and down the stairs a few times, then play it again. Anything to make it even harder than it is already. :)

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