Just Be Yourself

WHOA! Has it really been this long since my last blog post? Well, this is a topic very near and dear to my heart, so hopefully this blog post will prove to be SO special it will make up for 3 weeks worth…sorry about that!

So, with all of the school auditions coming up, and for those of you who are about to audition for anything, I have a GIANT piece of advice for you: JUST BE YOURSELF.

Now I know you are probably thinking “Wow, Tyler. How profound.” You have only heard that mantra, what, one million times? Well, there is a reason: IT’S TRUE!

Imagine you are a lawyer going in for a big job interview with a corporate law firm. The only problem is, you are more of a family lawyer. You are still a lawyer, yes, however your priorities (and perhaps values) lie elsewhere within the broad scope of the law. You really want this job, so you start trying to talk and act like how you think a corporate lawyer should talk and act. You leave thinking, well, that wasn’t so bad. I think I gave them what they really wanted. I REALLY HOPE I GET THIS! Fast forward about a week. You don’t get the job. You are devastated.

LET’S BACK UP!

First of all, why are YOU, as a person experienced in family law, applying to a corporate law firm? Is it for the money, the prestige, because all of your lawyer friends work in corporate law? Second of all, why didn’t you just be yourself? I believe a law firm would respect a lawyer who knows their own strengths and weaknesses over someone who is pretending to be something they are not.

Regardless of how great a comparison that was, do you see my point?

Sometimes, we as musicians, put so much effort into trying to be like someone else or trying to appeal to what WE think are SOMEONE ELSE’S tastes. There are quite a few problems with this:

1) How do YOU know what SOMEONE ELSE’S tastes are?

2) Why would you be applying somewhere, or studying with someone that does not share your goals and visions? If you are trying to be like them, then that is what they will constantly expect of you. And hopefully you can deliver, or else it may not end well.

Let me share with you a personal story. I applied at an institution for grad school last year with the hopes of studying with one particular flutist who is quite well known. I went to have a lesson with this flutist as a prospective student, to see if we were compatible. I respected this flutist’s opinion so I tried to do everything I was told. This particular way of playing did NOT work for me, and to be honest, it ruined my playing for about 2 months until I was finally able to find my way back to my own personal style.

For some reason, I still applied and auditioned at this institution for this particular teacher. The day of the audition came, and knowing the preferences of this particular teacher, and I tried to play like I was told. It. Was. A. Disaster. Needless to say, I did not gain admission into that institution, and for good reason.

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Let me share with you another personal story. I applied at an institution for grad school last year with the hopes of studying with one particular flutist who is quite well known. I went to have a lesson with this flutist as a prospective student, to see if we were compatible. I respected this flutist’s opinion so I tried to do everything I was told. This particular teacher did not try to change the fundamental way I play the flute, and gave me very helpful and constructive feedback about my playing, as well as ways that I could build on what I was already doing quite well.

Needless to say, I applied for this institution. What is unique about this institution is that there are 3 flute professors. That is to say, you most likely are not going to be able to play 3 different ways at once in an effort to please everyone. So, I went in thinking “Screw this, if they like it, they like it. If they hate it, at least I showed them ‘me.'” I played my heart out!

I got in to this institution, and it is where I am currently studying. And I could not be happier with my situation.

Let me sum it up this way:

Be yourself. Why spend so much effort trying to be something or someone you are not, when you could spend just as much effort making who you are even greater?