Beyond the Baton: What Every Conductor Needs to Know

Beyond the Baton: What Every Conductor Needs to Know

Beyond the Baton: What Every Conductor Needs to Know

Beyond the Baton: What Every Conductor Needs to Know

Synopsis

Seasoned conductor Diane Wittry draws a comprehensive roadmap to a successful career in Beyond the Baton. With first-hand understanding of how the role of the conductor has changed across the years, she expertly examines the new set of duties--both on and off of the podium--that now fall upon the shoulders of the music director.

Excerpt

Conducting: “The art of leading and coordinating a
group of instrumentalists and/or singers in a musi
cal performance or rehearsal.”

The New Harvard Dictionary of Music

Many of us will spend our lives trying to perfect this art form, but what truly makes one conductor great, and another conductor just good? People used to say that conductors were born, not taught; that you had to already possess the “right” personality from birth to assume this leadership role; that, if the first time you ever stepped on the podium, you didn't have the mysterious “it,” you never would. I do not believe this is true. I believe that anyone who is passionate about music-making, and who is willing to work hard and learn, can become a conductor. There are many areas that must be studied and mastered to make this a reality. Beyond the musical skills that must be learned, you must master the essential ingredient that makes the difference between a good conductor and a great one. That quality is leadership. a conductor makes no sound, and yet they are responsible for the quality of the music-making. Much can be accomplished through their expertise as musicians, yet it is in the transference of this knowledge that many conductors fall short. in essence, all of their work is done through other people. It is the ability to work with people to achieve a common goal that raises the good conductor into the “great” category. There are many conductors with perfect pitch, impeccable knowledge of harmony, excellent baton technique, and fluent understanding of musical styles who are not successful on the podium.

The ability to work with others is essential to being successful as a conductor, but the word conductor deals mostly with what is happening on the stage and . . .

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