2 years ago

Next Level Journals Strings Summer 2015


61 DREAM BIG• Identifying goals - personal roadmaps for moving towardssuccess - is the major fuel that drives most of us. Approachauditions anticipating a favorable outcome, and not just“for the experience.”• Pair aspirations with a passionate, proactive mindset. Aclearly defined game plan is a mighty and propelling force,directly impacting both the course and quality of one’spreparation.• Exhibit the tenacity of a bulldog. Think of Ironman competitionswhere, through sheer will power, athletes accomplish featsthat push well beyond the norm (pulling trains or lifting cars).• Take ownership of lofty goals, not hesitating to aim forthe top. Would your preparation be any less serious for aTier B orchestra than one ranked as Tier A? (orchestras arecategorized by the size of their annual budgets, beginningwith the largest ones, such as the New York Philharmonic, inthe A category) By setting one’s sights on the bottom rung ofthe ladder, the journey to the top may be long, arduous, andperhaps, unnecessarily drawn out. In my experience, those ofmy students who dreamt big and believed that success waswell within their reach were handsomely rewarded for theirindomitable spirit (as well as their sandwich building skills).• Being an artist is a full time job; make it your mantra and carryyourself in that role 24/7. Act the artist - be the artist.2 THE COLOR OF COMMITMENT• Think green; taking auditions is not cheap. Travel, room,and board are pricey so make the investment count. Oncecommitted to taking an audition, consider it a contract withyourself. Backing out should not be an option.3 WORK AHEAD OF THE CURVE• Work well in advance of deadlines to maintain a calm,positive mindset. Having your back against the wall producesnoticeable anxiety, eroding self confidence, and a lost senseof well being. I think it is fair to say that we’ve all been there atleast once in our lives. Last minute scrambling breeds doubtso learn to work backwards from an audition date and vow tobe completely prepared at least a month in advance.• Be amenable to the idea of sitting on repertoire, letting itmature like a marvelously aged cheese. As the audition dateapproaches, it’s helpful to keep a cool head. Adopt a routineof slow, methodical drilling to avoid spinning into a tizzy

7and, more importantly, steer clear of injury from excessiveor frenetic repetition.• View the accomplishment of being a highly skilled artistas a positive gift and not as the chore of having to maintainBeethoven’s 9 th Symphony for another upcoming audition.The reality is that over the course of your professional career,repertoire is revisited many times.• Embrace your role as a musical emissary with prideand integrity.• Let go of the myth of “peaking.” When did Heifetz ever peakon the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto?4 ORGANIZE LIFE FOR THE NEXTFEW MONTHS• Assemble audition literature and music scores into bindersrather than having random, wrinkled pages fall out of instrumentcase pockets or crumpled on the bottom of book bags.• Keep your editions current. Are you working with a respectedversion of the Mozart Violin Concerto or a recycled, yellowingtattered copy, covered with bunny stickers that say, “good job”?5 COMPOSE A MENTAL SOUNDTRACK• While in the throes of practicing, how often do you find yourmind overtaken with random thoughts like where to meet yourfriends for dinner? There is a price to pay for mindless practicing.The printed page offers a consistent digital road map. You mustsupplement this with the cerebral agenda that keeps physicaland mental tracks connected, moving forward in tandem. Thismental road map can be as simple or complex as you desire- the choice is individual. There is a direct correlation betweenthe degree of your imaginative practice input to the measure ofcreative performance output. The road to becoming an artist isabout carving out an innovative path, from the practice room tothe stage, and everything in between.6 PLAY THE ODDS GAME• Everyone begins with an even playing field where thegoverning rule of the game is short and simple: one shotto deliver the goods. Ensuring solid odds is the linchpin forachieving success. Face the reality of how the odds gameworks. Think in terms of taking exams at school. Test A resultedin a grade of 100; however, test B produced a score of 0. Dothe math and the average score for the two exams is a 50. Nowapply that thinking to how you practice. Did you hit that gnarlyrun in Don Juan the first time? Great! You now have a 100percent chance of getting it right at your audition. Let’s try that