On Rejection. (Again?)

“Dear M,

On the basis of your audition on March 9, 2013, I am sorry to say that we are unable to accept you as a Music major…”

***

I’m writing this a mere 5 hours after receiving the news, so this post is likely to be even more stream-of-consciousness than usual.  I’m… I’m nothing, honestly. I’m shocked and numb. This is the calmest I’ve been in response to any rejection I’ve experienced that actually mattered.

I remember this calm and it worries me a little, because I remember when it signaled a refusal to cope with issues that needed my attention, and I’d be lying if I said I was coping adequately with every single aspect of my life. (Does anyone ever manage that?) Mostly, I’m relieved – I didn’t want to spend the entire night analyzing my flaws. I didn’t want to spend it angry at the world. I didn’t want to spend it crying to the kind people who volunteered to be my voices of reason. I’d rather just feel nothing for a few hours and see where that gets me. What happens if I skip right to the being okay part of bouncing back?

I’ll take this one as positively as I can: maybe I’ve finally matured enough to handle rejection as an excuse to refocus and re-commit. Maybe I’m one step closer to not taking it personally.

I’m not giving up.  It was wishful thinking that this one time I’d get exactly what I wanted. Things have never gone exactly according to plan. It wasn’t even the biggest dream in the world. Maybe it should’ve been: maybe I’m still looking for ways to settle. I used to interview phenomenally badly for jobs I had no passion for; maybe I should’ve aimed higher. Maybe this one wasn’t my passion.

I know that I need to ask myself some tough questions and re-focus. I know that I don’t feel any less determined to make this happen. I’m not content with being merely an okay singer, an actress who sings, an occasional musician. I’m not content being merely a performer; I need to contribute something. I’m not content being replaceable, a part of someone else’s vision, a tool for someone else’s creativity. I need to create things that matter and help people that matter and I want music and theatre to be a part of that.

How do I get there from here?

 

 

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The Best Day of My Life Thus Far.

Yesterday was the first of my auditions required to transfer to a four-year music program.

I’m going to copy over almost exactly what I wrote in my personal journal, because I can’t express it all with perfect moment-by-moment accuracy. I can only talk about what yesterday felt like, and how it was a fulfillment of something I’ve been waiting for my entire life. I know a lot of people hate auditions, but sometimes I get into one and I remember exactly how to shine.

***

I did it.

I went in feeling a little apprehensive, but better than I had all semester. Ready, fueled by the strength of other people’s belief in me more than my own, but a little bit of my own, too. I went into a practice room and warmed up alone while hearing a more highly trained voice than mine warming up and hearing people play their piano scales faster and in more complex variations than I could. I went downstairs and heard a teenage girl with a lovely voice singing one of my pieces, and felt a flicker of “I don’t belong here; she’s only 17 and she’s better than me,” until I realized that her Italian diction wasn’t great and her rhythm was off in a few spots.

I ran through with my pianist, and the acoustics in the room were brilliant. I could hear myself. Maybe my voice wasn’t big in comparison to others, but I could fill up this space. I was hitting my expressive points. Vibrato, with which I struggle to find the correct air pressure/support for consistent achievement, crept in on far more extended pitches than before. I rolled my final R’s in the Italian piece better than I ever have.

Ok, maybe I could do this.

I went upstairs to the Theory exam. There were four tests: one to test into levels 1, 2, or 3, and one to test out of Theory entirely. After looking over all four, Theory III seemed the best choice – it actually looked easier to me than Theory II, and Theory IV had a few concepts I didn’t know yet and didn’t want to try to reason out under pressure. I had… not exactly trouble, but I had to think a little harder than I would’ve liked, but I did well. I finished, knowing I’d performed solidly. One down.

A hour’s break was spent drinking tea at Starbucks with my husband, who came with me for moral support. Then back for actual auditions. They were within a hair of the same quality as my runthrough – I cannot actually tell for the life of me whether they were slightly better than the run-through, or if I’d been a little better under slightly less scrutiny, but I had a moment where a high note rang in the space a second after I finished and I realized that that was me and that I could sing.

There were less amazing parts; I don’t feel I performed well on my piano or sight-reading placements even though they were easily below my actual skill level. I don’t care. I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care. I feel like I could never care again. All I’ve ever wanted in my entire life is to be able to sing and I can.