My high school students have spent the past several months mastering three etudes in preparation for TMEA All-State auditions. Despite the talent and level of dedication, the repertoire is challenging for the vast majority of students.
After spending months mastering and honing every note, rhythm, and articulation with relentless detail, there is the small matter of then performing in front of the foreboding curtain which separates the student from the panel of judges. Surrounded in a room of their peers, students must execute every detail of the music with utter perfection. The performance is then scrutinized by a panel of highly-trained experts, who then choose the best students (a very small handful) to advance. The process continues with higher stakes at each round, until four saxophonists are chosen to make the Texas All-State Band.
In case you didn’t catch that last part: FOUR saxophonists make All-State. Four. Out of several hundred if not thousands.