When you get to a certain age you may find yourself adjudicating, testing, evaluating the creative work of others. Behind that desk, pen in hand trying not to look too scary,
you’ll be balancing professional detachment and the evaluation of musical data, with what your soul, your gut-reaction screams up at you, through layers of acquired socially acceptable expedience.
Well, that’s what it might feel like to you. In fact that inner “truth” the judge may or may not feel when someone pours out their musical heart on the other side of that desk, may just be plain old personal taste.
If something played or composed, triggers enough familiar influences in the listener, quite often acquired during their OWN formative years, they’ll find themselves writing down how good it is. That’s when the professional detachment stuff has to kick in!
From the other side of the desk, don’t believe the judges who might tell you afterwards that they were completely impartial (if so, they were probably asleep), a thousand personal likes and dislikes were being triggered by what they just heard and some of them WILL be a completely unfair appraisal of you, when acknowledged in isolation. This is the first reason why there should be at least two judges, preferably not close friends with identical jazz-on-vinyl collections.
This is also a great reason for you, the candidate, to feel EMPOWERED and not scrutinised like a medical exhibit: The beating heart of you is beyond judgement, it is life, burning with creativity. It has little, if anything, to do with the ego or with your more experienced fellow artists , however wise, scribbling things down as you perform.
Your true worth is a given, so a good question is,
Can I make this apparent to others?
If at times you may have not made this so apparent to others, it is THAT which has been judged, NOT the passion itself or that wonderment you feel in the core of you.
This is beyond question, always.
Your artistic practice should retain a magical umbilical cord. It stems from your most fundamental, elemental and honest urges to create. Nurture this influence, which NEVER REQUIRES judgment, and it’ll have a chance to shine out of you. This might be the most impressive thing to the judges.
Isn’t that ironic!
It is a present-moment phenomenon, animating all that hard-acquired, yet mechanical, skill.
So how to prepare for an audition?
The same way you’d prepare for a performance. What do you owe your audience? Everything, actually.
So your practice room becomes a Chapel, and your breathing is consciously slowed and relaxed and you enter into something sacred, knowing that people before you have been persecuted (and still are) for keeping the right to do what you are privileged to be doing right now.
Don’t be afraid of approaching big grandiose subjects and feelings, as long as you maintain the ability to laugh at yourself too.
It is not really YOU, but your ability to communicate YOU that is ever being judged.
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