We are in a warm-up room outside the annual progress auditions for our local, excellent, youth music service. It is a cold, echoey building with great acoustics. The open door makes the room draughty on this dismal, cloudy afternoon. These are brass auditions, so I am in the room with several horn players and trumpeters while my son, The Boywonder, gives his own trumpet audition. I know he has not warmed up sufficiently and therefore will not be able to play with the appropriate sound quality. So does he, but he’d never dream of admitting that to me. He is 15 years old.

I can hear him playing his pieces through this open door. Every slightly woolly note; every infinitesimally rough semiquaver. After all, he has only been preparing this piece for a couple of weeks. This time last year I could hear all the duff notes when he took his sight reading piece at twice the correct speed. It’s a Grade 8 level audition and we both know he’s not done anywhere near enough practice. He is, of course, naturally a great musician but at this level it’s the amount of work one puts in that counts. This is The Boywonder’s weak point. We have argued about this, yet again, in the car on the way here.

If I can hear him, he and the audition panel can hear his band comrades in this room warming up properly with the Haydn concerto. The piece he’s supposed to be learning, despite his excuses. I feel more dismal.

Just shut the damn door, will you?

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