This Whole Thing Is Insanity (It Really Is) – Tom Fleming | Ep. 46


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This week’s episode of the podcast is another installment of “Winning The Job”. This one features Tom Fleming, the second bassoonist of the Dallas Symphony. I mention this in the episode, but Tom and I actually went to the National Orchestral Institute summer festival in Maryland together way back in 2010. It was great to get to connect with him in this capacity.

Tom has taken over 60 professional auditions. As a result, he has a great deal of wisdom and tools to share with us on how to be organized, prepared, and ultimately successful in an audition. Here are a few of the takeaways from his episode:

The Three Lists

This isn’t the first time a musician I’ve interviewed described organizing the audition list into three separate categories: group A are excerpts you own, group B are excerpts you need to look at, and group C are excerpts that you aren’t familiar with or have never worked on. Tom felt using this system allowed him to maximize his practice time by ensuring he would be spending the majority of his time trying to get excerpts in group C to the same level as excerpts in group A.

Recording The Whole List

Recording yourself is an essential part of being successful in an audition. Knowing what you actually sound like is the first step toward making the necessary improvements in refining your playing. It’s difficult to improve when you don’t know what you sound like.

Tom really embraced this practice by recording the whole list each day he practiced for his audition. While it can be time consuming, the knowledge he received on each and every excerpt on the list was invaluable in his work towards presenting his best playing. Tom was clearly willing to go the extra mile to ensure he would be as prepared as possible on the day of the audition.

Practicing Mindfulness

Tom mentioned at the end of the episode that he had recently began incorporating a regular practice of meditation and mindfulness practices into his life. He said he feels that they helped him deal with anxieties and nervousness both in his practice and at the audition itself. I myself can attest to the power of mindfulness as well. It is my experience that being able to focus on the present moment is a powerful tool towards greater focus and clarity in any given moment.

I hope you enjoyed Tom’s episode!

Until next time,


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