23. April 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Ilkka Talvi, of the Of Mice and Men blog, has a good write up on the audition process.

There are a whole lot of auditions coming up in OboeLand. You can check the US ones out on my current professional auditions page. It’s quite the audition fest.

But who will win?

Heh. Who knows?

I’ve been on audition committees. It isn’t fun to be in charge of so many oboists’ fates. I feel for every single oboist who is brave enough to show up. I can say that the oboe auditions I’ve been on have been run fair and square. There was never any “fixing”. Never any guessing as to who was behind the screen. And I’ve been very happy with the results.

But … many, many years ago I was attending an audition (not on the committee, but as librarian), and there was a whole lotta guessing goin’ on. The committee clearly wanted a particular player, and they were guessing who was playing when. They were upset when they felt they had to choose someone else who played the better audition (at least they chose the best player!). Much to their surprise the person they wanted actually was the one they chose; they had simply guessed wrong.

The screen that guarantees anonymity can also cause problems.

I actually think the whole anonymity thing cuts out something important that I suppose we like to deny. We musicians have to work closely together. We need to get along. At least a little! But we pretend that the only thing that matters is musicianship. I’m not sure any other job operates this way. I know in the business world they even wine and dine applicants sometimes, and an applicant simply doesn’t fit what they need, all the qualifications in the world might not get him or her in the door.

And yet we don’t want to be accused of discrimination. It’s a tough issue.

Mostly I’d just say auditions aren’t fair, and certainly don’t deal with what I call music in any real way.

But that’s the music biz.
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