commitment

The View from Both Sides — by Robert Battey

  Critic. n.: one who walks out onto the field after a battle to shoot the wounded.   As a still-occasionally-performing cellist as well as a regular music critic for the Washington Post and STRINGS magazine, I feel exquisitely the sentiment expressed by the wag above.  There are few things more discouraging than to give a concert of which one is proud, only to later read that you “had an off night, with wayward intonation and a pinched sound.” On the other side, to judge from the press quotes sprinkled in concert flyers and musicians’ bios, one might think that everyone is incredible. In such a subjective realm as the performing arts, these anomalies and injustices will always be with us. No two people hear the same thing at a [...]

Defining the Intangible — by Melissa Kraut

Several years ago I was asked to contribute to an article for Strings Magazine on "what teachers look for in an incoming student."  I was excited about the article—what a fantastic idea—a compilation of suggestions from teachers who listen to 100+ cellists a year auditioning for music schools!  Despite my best intentions, I still haven't crafted a contribution. (Here is where I should publicly apologize to the cellist, who is no doubt reading this entry, for the 3 year delay in responding to your request).  My neglect  was not for lack of interest, or lack of knowledge or experience on the subject.  It came down to the difficulty in putting words to something that  is so nebulous—defining the intangible.  The title for this entry popped into my head during audition [...]

Putting Your Best Foot Forward in Auditions — by Yeesun Kim

Let's face it. A musicians life is full of auditions.  Even when you might not be taking a formal audition, each concert may turn out to be an audition for your next project. For many students, February in particular is a busy, stressful month filled with college auditions, summer festival auditions, recital juries and so forth. When you are a beginner, auditions generally represent a relatively encouraging nudge of  "Do your best." Later, they have greater consequences, and dealing with the pressure can become quite torturous.  Some are more at ease than others, but I believe it is safe to say that auditions are not activities anyone particularly enjoys doing. Of course listening to auditions is not so easy either.  One is asked to sit through 7-8 hours per day [...]