Honoko studies music with flute lessons at Sage Music Queens, NY.

Jason: Honoko, welcome! We’re honoring you with a student of the month because I heard you done some really great things with your NYSSMA audition. Are you proud of what you’ve done?

Honoko: Yes very.

Jason: Would you like to tell our friends out there? On what you did on your NYSSMA?

Honoko: I got a full score of 28 out of 28 from my NYSSMA.

Jason: It was a perfect rating. I know you brought your paper. Do you want to remind everyone on the ways in which you were graded?

Honoko: Yes. the criterias of the NYSSMA was the tone, the intonation, that technique, accuracy, interpretation, the scales and the sight reading.

Jason: That is a lot of things. Well, tell me a little bit about the process, like how did it go? What was your experience at the NYSSMA evaluation?

Honoko: Well, first I had to perform my solo piece, which I think it went pretty nicely and I was proud. Then the instructor gave me a sight reading paper and so I had to sight read that with the perfect rhythm. That’s how it was, that was basically it.

Jason: Apparently it went well because you’ve got such a good score. Right, how did you feel? Were you nervous or excited?

Honoko: I was really nervous. It was my first time in NYSSMA, so I didn’t really know how it was goning to go, but I think I did pretty well than I thought I would do, which made me really happy and proud of myself.

Jason: Good. You should be. So, do you think you were nervous because it was the first time that you did it? It was a new experience. Do you think you’ll be a lot less nervous next time because you know how it goes?

Honoko: Probably.

Jason: That’s awesome. So now, you will be even more prepared next time. Can you tell me a little bit about the things that you did to get ready? Because you obviously did well, so there must have been something about what you did that help you get that 28 out of 28.

Honoko: Well my teacher, my private teacher Michael, he prepared me for like the smallest dynamics himself, which made me think about the solo piece really specifically. I’m not sure how to explain it.

Jason: You mean that you looked at really detailed, small things?

Honoko: Detailed parts which kind of made the solo piece sound cool. Also my teachers at school, they were telling me, “Why don’t you record yourself?” or “Why don’t you try playing in front of a mirror? So that you can see yourself playing and that you can be confident about yourself.” Those are the things I did to prepare for my nervousness and things.

Jason: I see. So you did video recordings of yourself? How’d that work?

Honoko: That just made me feel really nervous because with video recordings, you know that someone’s looking at you, for example, the person who’s taking the video and there is a phone that’s taking the video to. Then you’re goning to have to see yourself doing it later on. It’s like there’s two perspectives looking at you, which just makes me really nervous because it’s not just one perspective or one person who’s looking at you. I think that just makes you prepared.

Jason: Okay, good. Now how did you feel watching the video afterwards? Did you sound the same way that you thought you sounded?

Honoko: No, when you’re playing, you feel like you’re doing great and you kind of are. And then in the video you see the little parts that you’re not doing so great at and see the parts you have to really practice. When you’re watching the video, you see the parts that you should be prepared, which makes you think, oh wait, I don’t sound as great as I thought. Which makes you more prepared and practice.

Jason: I agree. So sometimes I think when we practice, we like to hear what we want to hear, not always what’s actually coming out. Is that what you felt? But was it a little bit hard watching that video and seeing that? But on the other hand, do you think that’s what made you better?

Honoko: Probably, that’s what I think.

Jason: Was that a little bit hard?

Honoko: It kind of made me feel sad, depressed about myself. But in the same time it made me more confident because I was like, oh, now I know what I have to work on. So I can just work on that.

Jason: That’s very smart. You see, I actually, talked about this with another student earlier, which is, there’s kind of two things, it’s like there’s where you are… and there’s where you’re going. It kind of doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you can figure out, okay, well what do I need to do to grow? If you can figure out what is the you need to grow, do you think you could accomplish anything?

Honoko: Well, where I can grow…

Jason: I mean is when you said you heard yourself, there’s this place I can improve, right? And then did you improve it after that?

Honoko: I think I did, for example, some staccato notes were, sharp but not sharp. It was in the middle of nowhere. But then after I saw video of me playing those parts, I was like, “That’s not staccato, I thought I was playing staccato.” And then that little staccato part just makes it so much better, which just makes everything better.

Jason: Awesome. Well, you know, I really commend you for doing that because it’s, sometimes really hard to take a look at yourself and realize where you were not good, but the awesome thing which you did is you took the non good parts and you made them good and that takes effort. It’s a little bit hard, but you know, if you can keep doing that, I promise you’ll be really successful not just in music but in life.

Honoko: Thank you.

Jason: You’re welcome. So just keep that going. So, let’s close today with your chance to share anything you want. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do a NYSSMA audition?

Honoko: Well practice makes perfect is one and you shouldn’t be really scared of making a big fail because that fail leads to perfectness and how you grow. So failing isn’t that bad.

Jason: It gives you the chance to grow.

Honoko: And looking right in yourself about what’s maybe wrong or what may be bad about yourself and knowing what they are just makes everything better. Maybe? That’s one thing I want to tell everyone.

Jason: Well, I’m goning to semi disagree with you because you said maybe, and I’m going to say absolutely. You’re on the right track and just go, go all the way for it, right? So as long as it keep working on, on the things you want to prove, I guarantee you’ll find all the success that you want and then I’m happy that we here at the school can help you be a part of that. All right, so it’s been a pleasure and we’re looking forward to seeing you in all the great things we accomplished in the future.

Honoko: Thank you.

Jason: You’re welcome.