For anyone who does not yet hold a full-time job, and is looking for something to do, I am hoping that this blog post is for you. First off, I’d like to start by saying that I have been told that blog post paragraphs should be limited to a maximum of 3-4 sentences, to avoid losing the attention of my audience.
Is it working? So I’ll get right into it, then. I have a new project, and it is to create a new section on my website dedicated to an organized, exhaustive list of generally “things you can do” with the clarinet, outside of your regular school obligations. This project was inspired, in part, by the Modern Snare Drum Competition, which I happened to have attended in 2016 (I know, a totally normal thing for a clarinetist to do). After two days of listening to the most exhilarating (also possibly only) solo snare drum music I’d ever heard, and watching three 20-something students receive REAL awards, in the form of substantial cash and valuable instruments, the thought crossed my mind: “is there anything as cool as this for clarinet?”
Perhaps everyone else already knows about competitions. Maybe I’m the last to get on the competition train. If you know all of them, have won all of them already, then feel free to click away. But if you’re like me, and looking for something motivating, challenging, and possibly career-enhancing to work towards, maybe you should be entering a competition or two.
I spent a small part of the afternoon researching (googling) competitions accessible to clarinetists in the US. I wanted organize my list in such a way that anyone viewing it could quickly determine whether he or she is eligible. I learned that eligibility is most commonly determined by age. So, I made a list of all of the competitions I could find in the span of a few hours, organized in the order of maximum age limit, with links to application details.
In other words, if you happen to be so lucky as to still be 18 years old, you now have a huge list of things you are eligible to compete in. Congratulations! If you’re older, it turns out, you ALSO have a huge list of things you are eligible to compete in. Congratulations! It’s not too late.
I’d like to mention that I think another source of inspiration was my own general apathy I felt during summers and vacations when I was in college. Between summer festivals, or during those months in which I was enrolled in summer classes, besides practicing scales, long tones, other fundamentals, and reading through new repertoire, I didn’t have a ton of goals to keep me motivated. Auditions for jobs weren’t yet on my horizon during my personal undergraduate experience.
As it turns out, there are SO MANY THINGS that could have kept me motivated, that are keeping me motivated today. As a continue to research (google) I hope to discover more opportunities to add to my ever-growing list, so that other clarinetists down the road won’t sit around wondering “What can I be doing right now?”
While I know that every budding musician has goals unique to those of everyone else, if anywhere on your list of things you want to accomplish–or even if you don’t have such a list, because you don’t have a clue yet what you want to accomplish–is “I want to improve at clarinet” then I implore you, enter into a competition. Some of the greatest progress that I ever made was from listening to and learning from my first recording sessions. And, if you advance, or dare I say it, win, you’ll have a moment in your life to be truly proud of, something to add to your resume, new professional connections, and depending on the competition, a physical or monetary prize.
Also, as I am new to blogging, and don’t expect many people to see this, I think I will go ahead and share it on Facebook in the hopes that someone might have some competitions to add to my new list.