Share & Add this Goal

    Is this Story Inappropriate?

Auditioning for music school
Lifestyle & Fitness

Why were you inspired to do this?

I received my degree in construction. This degree, for me, has always been sort of like an "honorable mention." I went to school to study architecture but it was evident, very early on, that my artistic ability did not translate to buildings. In high school I was, basically, becoming a draftsman (or drafts-person if you are PC inclined). When I got to college it was a very rude awakening. My very first project required me to sketch. I had never EVER sketched before. ... And I hated it. And I hated that I hated it. This was my dream! How is it that I hated my dream now? It was very deflating. Anyway, someone suggested that I change my degree to construction management. The fact of the matter is that I LOVED it. It wasn't what I wanted at the time but I did like it. It all made sense, I got to use a calculator, I was back to hard-lining... in short, I was in heaven. After graduation, I worked for a couple companies and the second one was a very large general contractor. I was an up-and-coming project manager on the largest project in the metropolitan area, at the time. The project was tough, fast-paced, interrupted by 9-11, changed by 9-11, and the project executive was a bit of a tyrant dictator. We were having issues with one of our subcontractors. The issue escalated and escalated and there we were - in the middle of a legal dispute. The lawyers were involved and there I was, giving my testimony in a deposition. The case lasted for a couple years. In addition to helping the lawyers prepare for the case, I also had to give a testimony in the arbitration. During this whole ordeal, I decided that this was not at all what I signed up for. I wanted OUT and FAST. I had, in the meantime, applied to, been accepted and received my master degree with honors in education. My plan was to get my masters degree first and then back-track and get an undergrad in music. The end goal was to teach music... either to disabled kids, kids in general or a music appreciation class in college. After I received my masters, I had to complete step number two. I applied to music school, to get a degree in music education, at a very large state university near my home. However, there was one obstacle in the way - THE AUDITION. I HATE auditions. I am not a performer. Give me a few beers, an acoustic guitar and I can strum and sing my way through many songs. I may even bring tears to your eyes while I sing a great ballad. However, that was not the kind of music I needed to do to get into college. I had to pull out my classical piano books and memorize three difficult pieces and audition.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

We did not, and still do not, have a piano at home. Hopefully this will change in the next few years. At the time, though, I had to find a place where I could practice at least every other day. I did. I found a church by my house that let me have a key so I could go there and practice. That was my motto - practice, practice, practice.

I had to find the right pieces. I found three that weren't too terribly tough but were decent enough to showcase my ability. To date I've forgotten what they are (for reason you will read later).

I had to commit. Much like committing to an athletic event (like a 5K or what have you) committing to this is no different. I had to make the decision to apply - filling out that application, writing that check and setting up an audition time with the professors.

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

I'm actually posting this as an accomplishment even though I bombed. And I don't mean just a little bomb. I bombed like a bag of lit, stinky poo flying across the sky. It was horrible. I wasn't even given the opportunity to play my 3rd song. Let me back-up a bit to tell the entire story. I was sitting in the waiting area surrounded by high school seniors (more than 10 years my junior) listening to beautiful music coming from the audition room. It was very intimidating. Kids were strolling in with violin cases, cello cases and music books in hand. All of them were dressed in their finest. I was as well but felt very awkward about the age difference. It was clearly evident that I didn't fit in by looks. From the music that was whispering through the auditorium doors, I wasn't sure that I fit in by talent either. When my name was called, I walked into this pitch black auditorium. There was a spotlight on the big, black grand piano on the stage. As I walked toward the stage, I heard some talking and realized it was directed at me. I finally saw that there were people in the very last row of the room. There was an older gentleman and three other people that were likely graduate students. They beat around the bush about asking me how old I was and what was I doing going back to school to study music after already having a degree in a completely unrelated field. Anyway, I digress... I walked up to the piano and started playing whatever song it was. At mid-song I blanked out about what the next notes are. I paused and replayed the measure I just did but it was no use, the next part wasn't coming to mind. The older gentleman stopped me and said it was fine to pull out the music. I finished the piece, although was completely embarrassed about the stumble. I started on the second piece. I froze. COMPELTELY froze. I actually pulled my hands away and covered my face. Again, I had to pull out my music but I remember completely butchering the song. My fingers would not cooperate. I lost all ability to add any emotion to the piece. I was just rushing through it to get it over with. After I finished I started on the third piece. The gentleman yelled from the back, "That's okay, I think we heard enough!" Like a whooped dog, I tucked my tail between my leg and cowardly left the auditorium, walked briskly out of the building and made it to my car. I bawled my eyes out. I called my husband as I was driving back home. He asked me to pull over as he was afraid to have my drive on the two-lane highway on the way home. I resisted and drove home anyway. There were moments, as I waited for my rejection letter that I thought maybe, just maybe, I did good enough to make it in. I wasn't going to school to be a performer. I wasn't going to school to really play at all. I was merely just checking off an item on the list to get accepted into school. Time went by and went by and before I knew it, classes should have started and I hadn't heard anything so I called the school. They had lost my application and needed to follow up with the professor. He e-mailed me and said that based on my performance I would not be accepted to music school. There it was in black and white - I officially bombed. While the end of the story is a sad one - the outcome was not at all what I wanted. However, I did accomplish the goal in front of me. I practiced and practiced and auditioned for music school. I plan to try again someday but will have to find an angle that will work for me. I'm not sure if it will have to be through the jazz department with blues on my electric guitar or take improve lessons on the piano and go that route.



1/3/2011 9:35:37 AM

Thank you. I am floored! I consider this a mini consolation for not getting into music school. :o) I'm going to use it toward one of my other goals - my family lineage. The money will be headed to a genealogist in Italy to help me get some information over there. THANKS AGAIN! Getting this award actually means a litte something to me - it might be a kick in the shorts to start writing "for real."

1/3/2011 8:47:53 AM

Congratulations! This story has been chosen as the My Life List® Best of 2010 for Lifestyle & Culture. You have won a $100 American Express gift card and your story and photo will be featured on the new home page for 2011. Please contact shelagh@mylifelist.org to provide your contact details for prize delivery. Great story!

12/30/2010 12:43:16 PM

Hi there, can you email me at shelagh@mylifelist.org? I have a quick question for you. Thanks!

12/12/2010 11:21:50 AM

This is great. I've had both good and bad auditions and I know how terrifying they can be every single time, good or bad. I auditioned for Oberlin Conservatory even though my chances were slim. I was NOT accepted, even provisionally, but in many ways the audition itself had been my goal. Putting in all that practice and surviving the scary process is something to be proud of. That's fantastic that you went out on a limb and that you're brave enough to tell people about it. Thank you!!!

12/10/2010 10:53:59 AM

Working Mama, I think this might be my favorite story ever shared on the site. We think so often that what we achieve has to do with success, when most often we learn more from when we fail. We learn what not to do, how we can modify our plans, how to be resilient, how to keep going! Those are far more important lessons in the big picture. Thank you for being brave enough to share this. No goal is ever a total failure until you stop trying.

Why do you want to do this?

What three things will you need to make this happen?

What is the biggest barrier to your achieving this?