After the Audition
Many young musicians practice for countless hours to audition for the Jacobs School of Music. But what happens to the students who get rejected?
For Ella Jasnieski, the clarinet feels like home. She loves the way it fits in her hands, the feeling of the keys and holes under her fingers. She loves its versatility, its freedom.
Ella spent two years learning how to play one piece: “Time Pieces” by Robert Muczynski. It’s a complex composition, constantly changing time signatures. The start of the piece is so slow and low that when the song starts, Ella almost feels like she is falling asleep. Then the piece accelerates and jumps, jolting her awake.
By the time she felt like she knew the piece inside and out, Ella knew she wanted to attend Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Her high school band instructor had gone to Jacobs, and she wanted to be like him. Her senior year of high school, she applied.
She sent in her application, but on the day of the audition, she chickened out and didn't go.
For the past four years, she had been preparing to audition for Jacobs. But she was so afraid of the rejection that she figured it would be easier to reject herself.
A year later, Ella’s freshman year at IU, she applied again. By then, the pandemic forced Ella’s audition online, so she submitted a video audition. In the weeks before her video was due, she holed herself up in her basement and played the clarinet for countless hours.
She recorded her performance of “Time Pieces” repeatedly, playing back the recording and finding herself unsatisfied. She picked apart small things, like the way she breathed in one video or the way her finger slipped in another. It always felt like she could do better.
So she recorded up until the day before the audition was due, when she submitted her clips.
A month and a half later, Ella checked her inbox and saw the email from the admissions office. “Oh my God,” she thought. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”
To her, it seemed her whole life would be decided in this one email. It would tell her if all her hours of practice had been a waste of time, or if it had all been worth it.
As she read the email, Ella began to shake. Suddenly her body felt hot.
An overwhelming feeling of failure swept over her. A feeling that she wasn’t good enough.
By the time he was a freshman in high school, Corbin Dubois knew he wanted to play the saxophone professionally.