06. February 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Roger Bourland blogged about UCLA undergraduate composition auditions. A good read. (Which sounds like “a good reed” but is not nearly as vital! ;-)

At UCSC we don’t audition the music applicants. They get into UCSC and then after taking a particular course they sign up and play a jury and we accept them or we don’t. Or we put the student in the “come back in the spring and try again” box. So I don’t have to really worry about auditions to begin with. Some potential students will come have a lesson with me to audition me … and I’m fine with that! If they don’t connect with me from the start they might prefer to go elsewhere. (Still, in the music biz you end up working with all sorts of folks you might not connect with and you still have to make fine music.)

I’ve been on audition panels, of course. I’ve been there for both San Jose Symphony (RIP) and for Opera San José. I’ve been behind the screen judging, I’ve been the personnel manager handling the auditionees, and I’ve even had to announce the winner and send folks home.

I don’t like doing it.

I don’t like the reponsibility. I don’t like choosing one player when I know at least a few others would be just as fine. I don’t like sending people home sad and deflated. But it’s part of the gig so there you go.

In the past applicants have asked me for my notes when the audition is over. I have usually gone ahead and provided them, although I might do a bit of editing if I feared feelings would be greatly hurt by some frank comments. But after the last Opera San José audition I decided that I might have to change my policy on it. There were hurt feelings, even without sending out my notes. There was rumor that we had fixed the audition (believe me, we didn’t!). And one person wrote me a rather hostile email that caught me quite by surprise. (Why someone would do that to the person who puts together a sub list is beyond me, but oh well!) So now I’m thinking, “Am I willing to send out notes that might cause trouble?” I don’t know.

Still, I know people like to know what we heard, and why we chose the winner.

Jameson had his audition at UCLA a few Saturdays ago. (Not for the music department.) I couldn’t help but pester him when he got home: “Did they give you any feedback? Could you read them at all? What do you think? How did you compare to the others that you heard and saw?”

He really didn’t have a lot to say, aside from the “Not much feedback” comment. He thought he did “okay” and now it’s just hurry up and wait.

I hate waiting.

But I wonder, then, if Dr. Bourland, in telling potential applicants what they needed to learn and do, made it clear that they weren’t accepted. While that might hurt for a time (sometimes a long time!) at least they would KNOW and not have to wait until … what is it? … March 31.

Auditions are such a scary thing. I don’t do auditions, thank you very much. I like my jobs. I’m happy to add more if anyone will have me. But putting together a ton of excerpts, playing to an unseen panel in an uncomfortable (and not at all realistic) setting? Nope. Not for me.

Ramble ramble …

Just yakking. While I have the time.
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