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Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

General Thoughts & Considerations
The Art of Conducting

There follows some thoughts and considerations regarding the Art of Conducting. These are editorial in nature as conducting in the end - is a rather personal craft. The are a veritable plethora of ways, manners and fashions of approaching the challenges which we each face as an active conductor. It is my hope that over many years - each of you will study this important craft with many teachers - and continue your own growth and personal development. Yes, there are some industry standards - some generally accepted formats and practices. There are, however, many divergent points of view - and this course is designed to give each of you a but a basic point of departure and frame of reference for your own work as a conductor.

General Thoughts

1. Conducting is a craft - a developed skill or ability - and as such, each of us may continually grow, improve and develop.

2. Conducting is more head than hand - a concept which tends to elude many aspiring young conductors [and some older ones as well].

3. You do not learn to conduct in a class - rather you seek to grow and develop over a multi-year period of time - by conducting numerous ensembles - in many varied venues and settings.

4. The goal of the conductor is to enhance the musical and expressive performance of the ensembles with which we are entrusted. It is our hope that an ensemble - be it choral or instrumental - performs better with us - than without us [or in spite of us]. Essentially BE CLEAR, BE MUSICAL

5. The art of conducting - varies but little - be the venue choral or instrumental. Yes, there are a few specific differences between choral and instrumental conducting - but many, many, many more similarities. We conduct music - we communicate with our ensemble members - that is the goal.

6. As we begin our career as conductors - we must remember that now - our baton [or hands and bodies] become our expressive medium or  instrument. Just as each of us has spent years developing and studying our voices or instruments - similar time, attention and practice must now be devoted to developing these new skills and abilities.

7. Conducting is a very tactile activity - kinesthetics plays an enormous role in our success as conductors. We want to learn and remember how a wide pallette of gestures feel and these will memories will hold us in good stead in our music-making.

8. Conducting is a great art and wonderful challenge. We move from concerning ourselves solely with our personal needs as a performer - to the needs of many; we move from concerning ourselves with a single line(s) of music - to a score of many lines - with nearly limitless expressive and musical possibilities.