CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 18, 2014
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Three Lessons Job Seekers Can Learn From the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

How difficult is it to get a job in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra? Nail biting competition and blind auditions make it extremely tough. The selection process emphasizes more on the voice than is typical with classical music.

As seen in a recent audition, out of 208 applications for a spot in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, only 67 candidates were considered, of which only 15 musicians made it to the semifinals. The selection was further narrowed down to two, who made it to the finals and competed for the job. According to William Short (principal bassoonist), the two finalists - Boris Allakhverdyan (principal clarinetist) and Rob Knopper (percussionist), experienced a unique selection process for a dream job.

Though a common job seeker will not encounter sheet music or an audition that is as challenging as the “The Bartered Bride”, there are three crucial lessons that job seekers can learn for their next interview.

The importance of being patient

Though experience counts, meticulous preparation can help you beat the more experienced candidates. Rob Knoper, for instance, had to submit his recorded CD prior to preparing the final cut for the live audition. Rob worked hard and recorded his piece over and over again before he could raise his standards and correct the tiny errors. The final piece was made only after he was absolutely confident it was up to standard.

What you can learn: Patience, repeated practices and hard work does pay. It is only a matter of time before a whole-hearted effort yields dividends.

Analyze the factors that put you in the right frame of mind

According to Boris, analyzing the small factors that affected his performance helped him be more comfortable and do his best. For him, the result of his work was more important than his appearances. He further explains that he played better when he sits with his legs crossed. He also admits that whenever he thought about his looks or appearance as he performed on stage, the quality of music went down slightly.

What you can learn: Sometimes little things can affect your success. The challenge lies in figuring them out. Do not ignore even the slightest of adjustments if it improves your performance.

Rejections were nothing but learning lessons

Rob recollected that his success only came after tons of rejections. Every rejection hurt him in its own way. But then every time Rob would think that it was just the result he deserved for his preparation. He kept improvising and changing things up in order to refine his work.

Rob and Boris had a tough challenge of demonstrating their skills, not just with music but in territories that were unfamiliar to them. Yet another inspiring thought, Rob said, the ultimate test was not on who has the most years of experience behind them. Every candidate had the same amount of time for preparation and performance was the key.

What you can learn: Never give up after you are rejected or even rejected badly. There is always a next chance. Everyone has an equal amount of time for preparation. The winner is the one who utilizes it the best.

Hopefully the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra audition and the story of the two finalists - Boris Allakhverdyan and Rob Knopper - inspires you in your job search efforts as well.

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