Competitions and auditions + looking back on the Telemann Competition

As a singer trying to build a career it is so important to meet new people in the same field, learn new skills, to be heard and keep up to date about all what’s happening within the classical-early-contemporary music scene. For that reason I’m giving myself space and time to do all the auditions that would potentially fit me or something I can learn from, do competitions to meet people, be heard and hopefully get useful feedback and incorporate that in my singing and work. First I was hesitant to do it because I am afraid of not being perfect enough but even with rejection, something can still be a good learning experience. Now I’m in the lucky position I can block some time this spring to just go for it! 💥

This can be extremely inspiring, yet also exhausting because you try pick yourself up and try to prove yourself to all these new people that are established in the field. Sometimes it is hard to not take everything personally when you get criticized or rejected. Rejection is inevitable in many cases and part of our job. Art is subjective and taste dependant, but sometimes a rejection can show you what to work on next and how to improve yourself. Luckily there are people that are here to inspire and to help singers on that path.

Looking back on the Telemann Competition I really enjoyed meeting all the inspiring people there. The other contestants were so nice and sympathetic and it was a beautiful atmosphere. The organization consisted of kind and welcoming people and it was wonderful to hear the adoration for Telemann’s work in the city of Magdeburg. I was so happy to have made it to the semi-finals for my first real professional competition. I was very impressed by the quality of singers. It’s such a special moment to have all that skill and passion in a niche field collected in one place and share our love for this music together. The finalists were all fantastic and I was to happy to have met some of them and heard some of them sing as well. Wonderful job!

Some of the feedback I got, was useful and had positive reenforcement plus constructive criticism. I am so motivated to work on the things said by some of the jury members. Unfortunately this world also has conservative sides and sometimes it feels like some people just like asserting their power when they have it. I really hope those people can learn how to give correct feedback that is useful for contestants. It is a very vulnerable state and it makes a lot of difference when people handle this with care and kindness. Some of the things said to me and others were quite unacceptable but maybe I am naive in thinking that should be different. This is my first professional competition and maybe it is just a cut-throat environment in some aspects with misplaced power, personal agendas and unkind intentions. Learning to not take everything to heart and filter only the things useful to me is a skill I am working on that hopefully will save me some suffering in the future.

What was pretty amazing, was the fact that the drop-outs before the finals could join a masterclass with Peter Van Heyghen. This is a wonderful idea and I believe he is the perfect person for this as well. An inspiring authority in the field and one of the kindest people I met. He is very clear and teaches you a lot in a short time, verifying if his take is useful to you. This is just a brilliant move of the organization. This way all contestants can go home inspired and happy. I’m very grateful for the organization for their hard work and welcoming attitude.

As the Dutch say: “Nee heb je, ja kun je krijgen.” and I translate that to “if you don’t try, you’ll never know what it can bring.” So, let’s see what the future brings.

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