Monday, August 30, 2010

Lead like the great conductors

Watch this for Wednesday's Class and:
1.  Give me feedback in the comment section below (make sure you sign your name or start an account).
2.  Send me an email with your feedback.
(due by Wednesday)


  1. I think it's fantastic he believes it's vital that we take our joy from enriching the lives of others through music. We help them grow into the best version of themselves through the fantastic music that we perform together. This keeps us from treating our ensemble as simply an instrument and nothing else. They have to be infinitely more than that so that what we do can retain that infinitely deeper meaning and be that magical moment between us, our ensemble, and the audience.

    We do all of this by maintaining this remarkable balance between: Telling our ensemble what to do, but not forcing them to do it. Encouraging them to know your heart, and the heart of the composer. It's this speechless conversation between the musicians and the conductor.

    It becomes our main job to become the bridge that connects all the pieces. We have to really know and understand our music so that we can correctly and effectively interpret what the composer was trying to say to everyone who might ever hear the piece. We then have to carry that message to our ensemble while merging the musicians into a seamless form who are able to communicate among themselves and perform the music correctly. But it has to go further than simply the right notes. They must also retain that deeper understanding that the conductor found and perform with meaning otherwise you're losing pieces of the message. It really is essential that it get to the audience in tact so that their lives can be enriched by it as well. However, things like being too focused on yourself as the conductor, being to forceful, not knowing our music as we should, or any other number of things can sufficiently damage the connections between these three things and render the "package" we're delivering virtually useless when compared to what it could have and always should have been.

    Whew! that sounds like so much pressure doesn't it? But at the same time the rewards reaped by all of the people involved and even by those who only get to hear about that ONE MAGNIFICENT CONCERT are seemingly endless. So many wonderful things can be introduced into the lives of those around us by what we do. With all this is mind, what we're trying to do is nothing short of an HONOR.

    This really is a great video, I never get tired of watching it. More TED assignments PLEASE!

  2. I loved his use of the word partner as opposed to leader/conductor/orchestrator and the usual terms that we coin conductors with. The best examples he gave of conductors didn't necessarily command his orchestra but moved with them and merely assisted their own process of making the music come to live via their interpretation, not his own. That Vienna orchestra even refused to work with Moody for that exact reason. Yes a conductor can and should establish some manor of authority but only as a way to keep the orchestra moving through the music inanimately. (more of a shepherd moving the herd together as opposed to a policeman beating his orchestra in a corner of his choice)

    ...and yes i concur with the conducting rule # 4, never encourage the trombones. It will only make things worse.

  3. This was a great video! I loved the way he showed many different kinds of "conducting philosophies." I really liked his ideas how it was more than just notes on a page but how it is the expression and stories of many to create one sound. Its not the responsibility of the conductor to have the only story or view like Mooty. Its Bernstein you want to be like.

  4. Matt Theodoras said:

    I have to say first off that the speaker was very good at portraying everything he wanted to say, because I was able to sit and watch the whole thing without getting bored. I found the talk very humorous. I think that what he says is true about needing to have a balance in how you conduct. Although I prefer a conductor that will give clear time, music is about expression, and I feel that one should do what they're lead to do when listening, conducting, etc. The shift in facial expression is something I never really thought about, but as I recall watching the band director in performances and rehearsals, it makes sense. My favorite part of the video was the 4th commandment of conducting: "Don't look at the trombones. It only encourages them."