The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success. ~Author Unknown
We have a new director for the final half of this semester’s symphonic band (something to do with scheduling, we were told).
At our first practice, she began by praising us for our performance at the previous night’s concert.
So far, so good.
And then the you-know-what hit the fan.
She told us flute players that we would spend the first part of rehearsal playing sections of two of the pieces from our concert for an objective grad student.
So we could be seated in the “best lineup possible” for our spring concert’s sound.
Um, no. That’s called auditions.
And none of us ever anticipated that!
I had a million objections flying through my brain:
- Auditions and/or chair assignments are a first — to my knowledge — for this band
- None of the other sections had to try out
- I haven’t been playing as long as all the other flute players
- I’d already had a miserable week, losing my beloved dog
- My new flute was in the repair shop, leaving me with only a backup
- We didn’t have time to practice first
- I don’t particularly like surprises of this nature
She sent us into the hallway, where we were to wait outside a classroom. When the first girl went in, the rest of us listened to determine which parts of which pieces we’d be playing.
And they weren’t awful.
Though, I confess, if I’d had my case and coat, I’d have packed up and walked out without auditioning.
Because I get so nervous over stuff like that, that I find playing at all a challenge.
It’s the main reason I opted out of majoring (or even minoring) in music at university.
There’s something about being on stage, playing a solo in front of judges, that wrecks my confidence.
The next day, we received seating assignments, and they weren’t pretty.
One girl moved up five seats; another moved up three. One moved down two; two others moved down three. I only moved down one, and at least I’m not seated last.
I probably shouldn’t agonize over this, but I’ll always believe a good director works for cohesion in a band, not pitting one player against another. Or one section against another.
Walking out is still an option.
An enticing one.
But I’m not a quitter.
Guess I’ll postpone judgment awhile.
Note: The coronavirus pandemic has caused the college under whose jurisdiction our band meets to suspend in-person classes indefinitely. Don’t know how they plan to do band practice online.