The Audition This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 28, 2015
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Kids. Hundreds of kids my age were in the room, and all were playing their instruments as loudly as they could. My dad and I wandered, searching for space at a table. Toward the back, we found a spot beside cluttered instrument cases, jackets, and music sheets. My dad told me to take it; he would wait at the side of the room.

I said hello to the other students at the table. As I set up my clarinet, the girl next to me began to flawlessly practice scales on her flute. She was followed by a trumpet player performing his solo. Don’t let them intimidate you, I thought. You’ve worked hard for this.

My clarinet was tuned, my reed was broken in, I had all my sheet music – I was ready for this audition. I practiced all eight of my scales and then reviewed my solo.

A few minutes later a girl sat down and buried her head in her hands. When she lifted her face, it was beet red and tears were streaming down her cheeks. I asked if she had just auditioned. She explained that there hadn’t even been an announcement for auditions to begin yet. The girl was so nervous about performing she had had a panic attack. I wasn’t sure how to comfort her, so I simply said not to worry and that I was sure she would do fine. Her fear made the butterflies in my stomach swirl even faster.

Then I saw a mother with a serious expression speaking sternly to her daughter. “You have to make it into this band,” she said. “Your father and I did not spend all this money for you not to make it in All South Jersey.”

Finally, at 9:30 a.m., the announcer called for the clarinetists to audition. I grabbed my clarinet and sheet music and headed to the hallway.

“Down the hall is clarinet sight reading,” a guide instructed. “Your scales and solos are next to each other, on the left.”

Scales, then solo, and sight reading last – that was the order I had wanted for my audition. I followed the guide’s directions and went into the room for scales. A few clarinetists were already there. We whispered as we waited for our turns.

“How long have you been playing?” a boy asked us. Someone said since she was three.

“Is this your first year trying out?” I asked.

All of them had made it into All South Jersey Band the previous year. This psyched me out even more. Everyone seemed so experienced, and I was the rookie who had never had a band audition this intense.

Then I was next. The more time passed, the more nervous I became. I thought back to the advice my band conductor had given me during practice. “Relax, don’t squeak, and pretend nobody is watching. But most of all, remember: before you begin to play, take a deep breath.” Every time I practiced my scales with him, he always led with, “One, two, three, begin ….”

A woman opened the door and motioned for me to enter. Three judges were sitting at a table with their backs to me. The woman told me to sit in a chair and flip one of the three cards on the music stand. I picked the card on the right. It read B flat, A, D, and chromatic. The woman then announced to the judges, “Number 14 playing scales B flat, A, and D.”

Remembering what my band teacher said, I took a deep breath and relaxed. This was it. It was all or nothing. I could ace this audition and make it into the band, but if I messed up one note, all could be lost. Slowly, I lifted the clarinet to my mouth and breathed in.

I imagined my band teacher saying, “One, two, three, begin ….”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Rynn750 said...
Oct. 29, 2015 at 7:39 pm
I tried out for my State Honors Band and didn't get in. But my friend did. Good story!
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