It’s been fourteen years since my first orchestral audition. A long road indeed. A road full of regrets, stress, hard practicing and many miles traveled. Happiness doesn’t rent an apartment in the Orchestral Audition town. They are not exactly friends.
Psychological pressure intertwined with the exhausting preparation and cooked with the many imperfect executions of basically the same orchestral excerpts – this is an orchestral audition in a nutshell. There is also a negative side to it…
Taking an audition is not for everyone. Even if you are a great master of your instrument and a superb musician. The task of winning an orchestral job lies through many “rows of barbed wire”. Everyone is “bleeding” in the end, the strongest one(S) are standing victorious. You might be a great audition taker and can NOT do the job you are auditioning for (weather it’s because of the lack of experience or because you can’t learn the ins and outs of the job). Or you might be a lousy auditioner but once in the orchestra, the job is yours – you are the best fit for a position. Either way you have to go through the tests and trials – a very often too hard and too demanding physically and/or psychologically process. Just like I’ve said – it’s not for everyone.
The break pedal is gently pressed down, which has allowed for the car to slowly cruise to a stop at an intersection.
Winning an orchestral audition is just like playing a lottery – the only way to win is to buy a lottery ticket and pick the right numbers.
You “buy a lottery ticket” by applying and preparing for an audition. The knowledge of the orchestral repertoire, the countless hours one spends learning and polishing the given orchestral excerpts and the financial spendings – all bring lots of stress, and disappointment in the end. However there’s no fairer process one must undergo in order to have a chance to be considered for a position.
In the end it is the most stable, solid players who are given a chance of a probation year – a year or two years of a trial period during which a player is tested in the orchestral environment. If all of the required aspects of the job has been met by the end of the trial period, the tenure crowns the player’s contract and everyone gets drunk.
There is no greater joy than sitting in the middle of a well tuned orchestra, where all and every player dedicate their lives to making something beautiful and timeless. Putting aside egos, striving towards the highest standards of the live performances, constantly adjusting to the whims of a conductor or a soloist – this is what all of the pain and stress and frustration are resulting in if you manage to stand at the end of an audition process.
Being an orchestral musician is an elite job denied to many.