As you may know dear readers, I’ve been in the process this year of getting ready to go to Western Michigan in the fall. Included in this was my audition for the school of music. That was this past Friday and I’ve been a bit quiet about it.
Well I’m ready to talk about it now.
I decided last April that I no longer wanted to be a history major and that perhaps re-perusing my love of music was a better idea. My reason being my inability to deal with yet another history course that I couldn’t agree with the method of teaching. So I promptly changed my major and set myself up to take music classes again.
Since September I’ve been preparing for my audition. I took all of the required music classes that I could while still completing my gen-ed requirements, I started taking lessons with a very wonderful woman who’s helped me grow a lot as a singer these past almost six months. I did the research on how to live a healthy lifestyle as a singer and I did my best to follow it.
I will admit that I tried to practice when I had the time. But that didn’t work as well as I could have hoped. Most of the time that I wasn’t working, in school, doing homework or trying to have some inkling of a social life, I just had no energy to do anything, let alone practice what I should have been doing.
So Friday finally came and I was so nervous that I felt like throwing up. I couldn’t think of anything except how nervous I was. I didn’t realize how bad it really was until I was in the practice room that I was assigned for warm up and I was sitting at the piano attempting to figure out how to warm myself up. I sat there fumbling at the keys and trying to play the parts of my songs that I knew I needed to do a bit more work on and I almost broke down crying.
So much was riding on the next twenty minutes. That audition, five months in the making, was going to determine my life from that point on. I finished my warm up and was instantly thrown right into my audition. I walked in and saw the three professors sitting there waiting to judge my fate. I walked up to the accompanist and gave her my songs, then giving my audition sheet to one of the professors.
Despite my nerves, I managed to sing my songs quite well. I made a few minor mistakes with pitch and breath. But overall I think that I did better than I thought I would. I finished my second song and was asked to step over to the ready music stand to do the sight reading. I will be the first to admit that sight reading is a horrible practice and I have never been good at it. No one in their right mind enjoys it because it’s typically harder than anything you would be comfortable with.
I failed it miserably. I don’t even know what happened. It was almost like in those two minutes I had completely forgotten how to read music. I’d forgotten how to sing. I made some sort of noises that resembled singing and just stood there attempting to sight read the two lines of music. I couldn’t believe what was happening. How could I not find the right pitches? Why couldn’t I find any pitches? I must have sounded like I was completely tone deaf.
I knew what I had just performed was not even remotely similar to what was on the page before me. I sheepishly walked back over towards the piano and I noticed the pianist give me this look of pity. I could tell that no one expected what had just come out of my mouth. I walked out after a few questions about my current school, which no one had apparently heard of and before I even opened the door I felt like I was about to just burst out into tears.
I had just destroyed any chance of getting into the program. My world was crumbling down around me and I just wanted to run. I couldn’t face anyone after that. The girl that was working there calling in the auditionees said something to me about how I did but I didn’t hear what she said and if she had said I did well it was probably a formality or a nicety. I grabbed my things and just walked. I didn’t even know where I was going, I just had to get as far away as I could. I ended up in the practice studio area and sat down on a bench.
I wasn’t crying yet, but I was dying inside. I had worked so hard for this. I wanted it so much. But I still wasn’t good enough. I felt like I had nothing to live for in that moment. I couldn’t understand how I could have done so poorly. I knew I wasn’t good at sight reading, but I was ashamed of how badly I had just done that. I couldn’t face anyone, not even myself. I wanted to just disappear.
My mom came and sat down with me. She asked how I had done and that’s when I started to really break down. I told her I had messed up and saying it out loud just made my feeling of worthlessness real. However much I had disappointed myself, I couldn’t help but feel like I had completely failed her. I’m supposed to be the kid that’s supposed to make it. I’m the one that has to be perfect.
I tried, but I couldn’t keep myself from crying. It wasn’t just the past five months that I had been preparing for this. It was every choir class, every church band performance. Every concert, every competition. I felt like my entire purpose in life was to be a singer. Since I was little it was all I had ever truly wanted in life. Now my years of hard work was all for naught.
Music was all I ever knew. It was all I was ever good at. But within a half hour my entire reason for being was starting to look like a giant joke. I couldn’t figure out if I had really just flubbed or if everything everyone had ever told me about my talent was just them trying to be nice and not make me feel bad about myself. Was I ever any good at singing? Or did everyone just put up with it because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings?
My mom said something to me then that frankly didn’t make me feel better in the moment, but I now see why she said it. She said to me that most of the kids that were there lived this. It was their entire life and they spent everything they had on it. At the time I felt almost insulted, because hadn’t I? Wasn’t my hard work worth anything? I mean there were a million things I missed out on in high school because I had a choir concert or I had to go to marching band practice. Wasn’t my life revolved around my music?
Music to me is like a really good cheap hooker. You’ll go back a million times because you enjoy the thrill, but you’d never meet them at the altar. I don’t want to marry music. I just enjoy the feelings it gives me. This audition process has been a giant slap in the face for me. I know now that even if it’s what I want to do, it isn’t what I should do. It breaks my heart to say that but until I can be truthful with myself I will never be happy. I now realize that what my mom said is the most truthful anyone has ever been with me. I am not one of those students. I don’t live my music.
There is no confirmation of how I actually did on my audition and I won’t find out till the end of March. I only know how I felt I did. There is still a chance that I might get in. But when they only take eight singers per voice type, the likelihood of it is very slim to none.
So with my inevitable non-acceptance into Western’s music program where does that leave me? Back exactly where I was right out of high school. The dreaded square one. I have no idea what to do. I can’t go back to history for fear I may commit either suicide and/or mass homicide. And without music I don’t know what else I can do. I know that I cannot stay where I am though.
I will still be going to Western in the fall. I’m going to be undeclared but frankly I’m okay with it. Because the entire reason I wanted to go there over the many closer schools that are just as good if not better is because I need to figure out who I am. My entire life I’ve let everyone I know define who I am as a person and I’m sick of it. I’ve been sick of it for years, but now I am finally doing something about it. I have no plan but at least I know that I need to work on me and that Western is just secluded enough to help me do that.
So I’ve decided I need to stop worrying about what I can’t change. I can’t make them accept me and maybe it’s a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. What happens will happen and I can only do what I’m capable of. I know I can find something else to do with my life if I don’t get accepted. And even if I do, maybe it’s not for the best so a back up plan is a good idea. So I’ll be spending the next month doing a lot of soul searching and trying to figure out some options. I’ll be here trying to get by and blasting some Adam Lambert. All in all, I think I’ll be alright. At least I know that I’m minoring in French.