Re: Interesting article from Matt Guilford..

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Posted by Kenneth Sloan on October 28, 2003 at 12:59:57:

In Reply to: Interesting article from Matt Guilford.. posted by Josh on October 27, 2003 at 14:20:50:

Interesting - but somewhat self-contradictory.

First, he bemoans the lack of control over the "three T's" (Time, Tuning, Tone)

Then, he complains that very few can "make music" (make musical decisions and communicate them to the audience).

well, of course, it's a matter of balance. It is reported that over 200 players sent in applications for the latest audition. It's fair to say that at least some of these havce not yet completed their journey, and still have something to learn. They *know* that they have flaws, and also know that they have limited time to prepare.

An easy answer is: "if you haven't mastered time, tuning and tone at a pro level, why bother to show up at all"

And again: "if you don't have anything musical to say, SHUT UP!"

But then, the essay bemoans that fact that Americann musical education seems to stress technical skills, while skrimping on musicality.

Given a limited amount of time, what is the poor student to do?

a) work on technique until perfect...only to be dinged on musicality
b) work on the expense of technical perfection
c) don't bother to audition until both are perfect

Thus, the essay fails to provide meaningful guidance to either aspiring players or their teachers. In the end, it boils down to: a lot of guys showed up who should have know that they had no shot; why did they waste my time?

Which is probably true.

I confess to being moderately astounded at the "open audition" system. When we hire a Computer Science Assistant Professor, we see hundreds of applications for every position. We narrow that down to about 5 (usually without much difficulty) and then give those 5 an "audition". But then, applicants for such a position have already *done* something, and have already performed under the observation of colleagues whose opinion we trust.

It seems to me that you could post the complete list of 200+ applicants here and hold a poll. I'll wager that readers of this forum could choose a list of 10 players which would include the top 3 who emerge from the cattle-call audition.

Why can't a major orchestra trim its application pool from 200+ to 10 on the basis of resumes?

In my opinion, the open-call audition is a farce. Whenever I see such a ridiculous institution continuing to survive long after its usefullness has disappeared, I begin to suspect hidden agendas. Others (as we've seen here) begin to see ghosts and conspiracies. the open-call audition a public relations scheme? a publicity stunt? a politically correct gesture? or just a sideshow distracting the audience from the real hiring process?

And...where are the teachers in all of this? Why do they encourage clearly unqualified students to go to these auditions? Are they using the orchestra's hiring committee's time to provide an "educational experience" for their students? I'd be very interested in comments from educators who have sent students to a major orchestra audition when they *knew* that there was zero chance to win the job.

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