It was the morning of May 6th, 2019, and I was sitting on my bed in my hotel room. It was the day of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra audition and I was exhausted. The night before, the Music Director had taken me and the other candidate out for food and drinks. The food was delicious but the drink never touched these lips. Here’s a piece of advice, even if the boss is doing it, NEVER order alcohol when you are going through an audition or an interview. Okay, back to the story. After dinner, the Music Director dropped us back at our hotel and wished us both a good evening.
As we were saying goodbye he reached into the trunk of his car and said he had a surprise for us. I thought to myself, “Sweet! I like surprises.” He then handed us a score to a piece of music and told us we had to learn a large portion before tomorrow’s audition. I remember thinking, “This is not the surprise I was expecting, and are you kidding me?” Knowing me, it meant that I would be up late working and that’s exactly what I did.
Once the morning came, I was exhausted because of how late I was up. However, I was also incredibly nervous, and it was a feeling that I couldn’t shake. In 2019 I began working with a life coach. One of the skills we worked on was a technique to reframe and evaluate what you were thinking and feeling in stressful situations and try to find the root cause of your reactions. I know you’re thinking this sounds incredibly complex; however, I assure you it is not. It involves listening to your emotions and asking yourself a series of questions and tuning into your responses.
First Question: “Why are you Nervous?
My response: What if I don’t know my music? Well, you’ve been studying for weeks, why wouldn’t you know your music?” From then I thought, good point.
Second Question: “Well, what if the orchestra doesn’t like me?”
My response: “How can they not like you when they don’t even know you.” From then I thought how that was very true.
Third Question: “Well what if I’m not ready for this job?”
My response: “That’s fair and you might not be. However, you’ll never know until you try.”
After several rounds of questions and answers with myself, the nerves started to dissipate and I could feel my confidence coming back. After several seconds of silence, I remember saying with conviction “This job is mine.” I gathered all my things and walked over to the rehearsal hall.
Fast forward to the next day and I’m standing at Bradley Airport waiting for my Uber to take me home. I’m exhausted but also strangely calm. The symphony said they would let us know the decisions by the end of the week. I looked down at my phone and noticed I had a missed phone call. It was from the Music Director of the Memphis Symphony. I wondered why he would be calling me. Then it hit me, I didn’t get it.
I was finally in an Uber and on my way home. Half an hour later, I walked through my apartment door and collapsed on my couch, still processing the events from yesterday and coming to terms with the fact that I may have lost the job. After a few moments of enjoying the silence, I called the Music Director back.
He picked up immediately and we made small talk. He asked how I felt about the audition process, and how I was feeling as a whole. I told him I was exhausted. He then went on to say that the board had met that morning and that after a unanimous decision, they were offering me the job. I went silent for what felt like an eternity and tears started falling from my eyes. Yes, they were happy tears of course! I remember thinking to myself how I had worked so long and hard for this moment and someone had finally said yes. It was also the validation that all of the sacrifices that my parents and I had made weren’t done in vain.
Life since May 2019 has been a wild ride, and as I like to say, “If you want it, work for it.”