Yesterday, we held (blind) undergraduate auditions for ensemble placements. As usual, the music was given out a month or so prior to the audition. The music is posted as a .pdf on the School of Music webpage and we have no idea when or if the students actually downloaded the music to prepare. As many instructors understand, there are certain students you can absolutely count on to be proactive and well-prepared. And there are others that are not.

It was a wonder surprise to see some students step up. It was obvious they made a decision this summer to put in the time. “Grind time” as I call it. They embraced the grind and it paid off. When in the last few auditions, they may have finished toward the bottom consistently. Yesterday was a different story. From the first note, there was a confidence in the performance. When these particular auditions were done, the panel looked at each other in approval. However, we thought we had it pegged exactly who we had just listen to based on prior performances. We were wrong.

We went back later to match names to placements and found the great players were still great. But we found the usual suspects of the bottom of the list toward the top. This was encouraging!

It always pays off to let the students go through self-discovery. Push them, but let them direct their ultimate destiny. In this particular case, it showed positive feedback. The students discovered the grind and were happily rewarded for what they’ve earned.