This is my biggest personal flaw. Which is not a good one to have when you are in a field where rejection is a major factor more often than not. And as a singer, it is easy to take rejection as a personal affront, because after all, your instrument is a part of your body. It doesn’t sound like anyone else’s instrument.
Let’s say you’re a pianist and you’ve made it to the finals in a competition and everyone has to play a Chopin prelude in the last round. Everyone is as good as you are. And (assuming it’s an in-person audition), you’re all playing on the same instrument. Assuming that note/rhythmic accuracy isn’t an issue, since you’re all in the final round, what is different? What are you being judged on?
- Overall interpretation
But the instrument’s basic tone is going to sound the same.(And pianists, if I’m full of it, call me out on it.)
As singers, we are being judged on all of the above, plus our tone quality. And assuming that we are all at the same level of ability at a competition, the feeling that “they don’t like my voice” can result in a “they don’t like me” response. And that is difficult.
When I returned to the East Coast after being gone for 17 years, I reauditioned for WNO, where I had performed steadily for 7 years – in the chorus, but also in comprimario and supporting roles. I was the mezzo soloist for two years in a row at the Kennedy Center Open House, representing the company as one of their finest singers.
It took me four years to be hired again. The first year I wasn’t offered anything. The second and third year, I was wait-listed. The fourth year, I decided that it was going to be my last audition for them. If they didn’t hire me then, I was done. I wound up getting a really bad cold the month before and wasn’t able to prepare the piece I intended and auditioned with a really old piece that I didn’t even like that much, but I knew I could sing it well, even just recovering from a cold. And I did sing it really well – I was so pleased at how it was going while I was singing.
They cut me off after the first section. “Well, that’s it,” I thought.
And then, three months later, I got a contract. And then the next year (and the year after that), I got two contracts (each year) and was asked to sing in the end of the year galas.
I thought about the experience of being cut off when I read this a few months ago:
(Honestly, it was a really tedious aria.)
As I wrote recently, when you hear no, it means “Yes, but not yet.”
Or it really might mean no… but it means you need to go somewhere else. Somewhere you can be appreciated and nurtured.
Looking for a place to be appreciated and nurtured? Contact MVS to talk about developing your voice and being heard.