First Doctoral Audition Checked Off the List!

This weekend was my first DMA audition at the University of Southern California.

This whole process of applications has, until this point, felt a bit like another item on my to-do list.  Online applications, writing personal statements, compiling résumés, ordering transcripts, uploading documents, booking flights, and on and on.  It has been a little bit difficult to get serious about the auditions themselves because it just feels like one more thing to check off on my path to starting a career.

So there I was on the plane about to land at LAX, working on my computer to check a few things off my to-do list when the lady next to me on the plane leaned over and asked what I was in LA for (which is common small talk but has always seemed a bit invasive to me).  I was in a good mood so I told her and her reaction was something like “WoooOOOooow” with an up-and-down inflection reminiscent of Fran Drescher, “That’s amazing!”  She went on like that for a while.  But it wasn’t sarcasm at all, she was legitimately impressed.

I started to see her point.  I am actually applying for doctoral programs… In 3 to 4 years I could be Dr. Snyder (although my friends say they will call me Dr. Phil, like I haven’t heard that before).  All of a sudden, it wasn’t just a check-list item; this is my life and my dream!  And I was so happily crossing items off my check list before I was interrupted by feelings!!

On a lighter note, LA was lovely!  California obviously has the same temperature (give-or-take) year-round so this trip was a welcome respite from the rainy, humid-yet-cold weather in South Carolina.

And, if I may say so, the Thornton School of Music has their business together!  There were friendly students at the check-in table, strategically placed tents and students around the music complex (that’s right, they have a complex), a clear hierarchy of responsibility among the workers, and an ample number of radios in case of questions or issues.  Maybe these are just the things I notice after thinking about logistics for so many events.  I was very impressed and that was almost enough for me to want to go there.

I like to look at the posters on the walls at different schools I am considering attending to get and idea of what goes on there.  I was impressed to see advertisements for music outreach programs and service opportunities at USC.  I also noticed an ad for a music career panel featuring Randy Jackson.  That’s right: the American Idol Judge!  We are happy to just get members of the SC Philharmonic at our career fairs at my school.  Also on the panel were many professionals from the TV and Film industries.  It certainly seemed like it would be a charmed life to go to a music school surrounded by that kind of culture with so many opportunities to interact with working professionals.

The audition itself could have gone better I suppose.  I got a serious case of dry-mouth right before I went in to the audition room.  I could blame the Santa Ana winds or the tap water that was a bit strange.  But those are all excuses and I will just chalk it up to being a little nervous and work to be more prepared for the next one.  “Keep it moving” is a mantra I stole from a colleague in my undergrad and it has never been so appropriate.

After the audition I suspended my calorie counting for a meal, ate my feelings, and passed out promptly at 9:00pm Pacific Time, gotta love that time change.

Now I am on yet another plane on my way back to South Carolina, crossing items off my to-do list.

I’m off to Eugene, Oregon next weekend.  Wish me luck!


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