I've decided not to audition for Yale or Curtis this year.
This winter break was a really productive one for me. In addition to practicing a lot, I got to perform quite a bit as well. My parents and I played the midnight mass at Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Hartford on Christmas Eve--the very first gig where all three of us were playing together. A few weeks later, I went down to MAGfest in D.C. Not only did I have a blast, but I met a bunch of new composers and made connections I hadn't thought possible to make at MAGfest before. Once that was done, I prepared for my show with Medicine Lake--as usual, it was awesome. And then I came back here.
I had kind of forgotten that I had an ensemble audition for school, so I frantically crammed for that audition. As my schedule filled up, my heart sank--I was back in school, back in academia. And what did I have to look forward to? Getting ready to audition for more school.
It didn't take long for me to realize that what I wanted to get ready for was my career. I was no long excited about the idea of going to Yale, or Curtis, or any other prestigious school where I would work my butt off and get really good. Why? Because I've been working my butt off and getting really good, and quite frankly, I'm getting tired of it. But to actually reap the rewards--to actually be hired and get paid and be respected as a professional musician, and not a student with potential... this is why I've worked this hard in the first place. This is what I want now.
This semester is now a lot more exciting for me. I feel like next year has unlimited potential. Anything can happen, but I have to work for it. My priorities this semester will shift from preparing an audition to finishing my degree and finding work.
I am still auditioning for New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program--mainly because it's something I've never had before, and preparing for it will also be preparing me for the direction of work that I'm interested in. There are a few main things I'm interested in pursuing right now: teaching, gigging (with any type of ensemble), and doing "studio" work. By studio work, I don't mean move to LA and try to be successful in the big recording studios (though, that might something I try down the road). I'm more interested in collecting the appropriate equipment to have my own personal recording studio, and record myself for independent composers' projects. This is what I will focus on when I audition for NEC.
I've started a project today, in pursuit of this goal. What if someone contacted me, needing music for something on short notice? Would my improvisational chops be strong enough to spit out a fitting work in a day's time? To practice this, as well as start to build a library of music, I've starting what I'm dubbing (for now) my "Improvised Soundtrack" project. Basically, every day (or as close to this as I can), I'm going to improvise a short theme that could be used as background music in a piece of media--a movie, tv show, video game, commercial, whatever. I might do just marimba, just vibraphone, maybe some percussion, maybe even a combination of all of them, if I have the time. I did the first installment of this today:
I think I am headed in the right direction--and I'm really excited about this semester because of it.