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Re: Tips on conducting



At 12:43 10/11/97 -0000, you wrote:
>I've recently been asked to conduct a band, but have never done it before. 
>I've got a good ear and could probably spot things going wrong and be able
>to explain how to correct them, but all the other stuff I'm not sure about
>(I've never held a baton in my life!!).  Can anyone give me some quick tips
>on conducting, the basics, etc.
>
>Thanks,
>Martin Irwin.

When playing for BTM in South Wales a few years ago I found myself in a
similar situation - being called upon to conduct a local third section band.
Stick technique, IMHO, is best learned by observation, use of a mirror and
self control.

Observation

Try to analyse what people who conduct you actually do.  At BTM when Jim
Gourlay was conducting us (c.1989) Denzil Stephens called in to listen to a
rehearsal.  During the break Denzil said to Jim "I hope you don't mind me
coming to listen - I find it so useful to see how other people rehearse and
conduct.  Do you often watch other conductors?"  At the time Jim was still
playing tuba for the BBC SO so he replied "Yes, only last week I spent
several hours watching Sir Georg Solti."

Mirror

It might sound sad but practicing your conducting in front of a mirror (or
video camera) helps you to see whether you're beating clearly or not.

Self Control

It's very easy to get carried away and make big sweepeing jestures.  As a
player you will know that these are often counter-productive.   You need to
learn the self control to keep your movements within reasonable dimensions.

Finally

Conducting is as much about Psychology and group dynamics as music.  If you
are building up a working relationship with a group you need to work out how
to treat the different personailities.  Some people will only give their
best if you gently coax them whilst others may need a firmer approach.

I hope this is useful - if not just ignore it.

BTW this is my first posting to this list - I hope it won't be the last!

Peter Denton

Principal BBb Bass - Point of Ayr Band
http://www.notned.u-net.com/pointhome.htm


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