"Give a musician a baton, and it goes to his mouth." Rochester Philharmonic violinist, related by Marvin Rabin, emeritus professor, University of Wisconsin
Tim Reynish and Mark Heron tackle the difficult Art of Conducting in a series of articles drawing on a number of eminent authorities and their own experience as professional players. In the first two articles they approach Score Study from differing viewpoints, exploring various ways of tackling a score, from sticking on a CD to the European method of Seven trips through a score.
Score Study Part 1: What's The Score?
These are roughly my approaches to any score. I suppose it can all be summed up in a few words, Phrasing - Dynamics - Tone - Balance - Clarity
Score Study Part 2: Some Thoughts on Score Study
Master Class or Take the Decibels Down
by Richard Strauss, Max Rudolf, Erich Leinsdorf, Gunther Schuller, Pierre Boulez, Walter Beeler and William Shakespeare.
Warm Ups - Warming-up your Ensemble
Firstly let me dispel a misconception: warm-ups and exercises are NOT just for 'non-expert' players.
Knowing The Conductors Role
Reflections on wind band conducting with help from Erich Leinsdorf, Gunther Schuller and Leopold Mozart
I have before recommended Erich Leinsdorf's book The Composer's Advocate as being essential bedside reading for every conductor, with an honoured place by his or her bedside. I came back to his chapter Knowing the Conductor's Role time and time again in rehearsals for a concert and subsequent CD recording of the Berlioz Symphonie Funebre et Triomphale and the Milhaud Suite Francaise, two works which need careful control and balance.
Technique Of Directing
The best conducting technique is that which achieves the maximum musical result with the minimum of effort. Fritz Reiner
Technique is "the immediate and precise response of the hands to the direction sent out by the mind". Ivan Galamian
Choice Of Repertoire
We must learn to teach music - not band, not orchestra, not chorus, but music itself...Choosing music is the single most important thing a band director can do, and is the only thing a band director can do alone, made more important because of the substandard repertoire continuously being published. So many publishers in the business today are printers who don't care about quality, but only about what will sell. We must not allow them to give the band a bad reputation nor to make our decisions for us, since the music we choose today can affect students for ever. Frederick Fennell
Score Preparation - Analysis And Score Marking
Tim Reynish describes a personal method of tackling any score; some elements of it might be useful to you.
RECOMMENDED: Guide to Score Study for the Wind Band Conductor - Frank Battisti & Robert Garafalo (Meredith Music Publications)
Conducting, Not Directing
A simple definition of the art of conducting could be that it involves eliciting from the orchestra with the most appropriate minimum of conductorial (if you will, choreographic) gestures a maximum of accurate acoustic result.
Rehearsal disciplines - Starting the group - Rhythm versus beat - Dynamic levels - Tuning procedures - Warm up - Plan your rehearsal.
Improving The Sound Of The Band
by Walter Beeler
From 1935 to the late 1960s and then again in the early 1970s, Walter Beeler (1908-1973) led the Ithaca College Concert Band to national prominence. In doing so, he built a legion of highly-successfull band directors, many of whom are still active today. Notable alumni include Frank Battisti, Thomas Everett, Arnald Cabriel, Anthony Maiello and many others.
This version first appeared in the WASBE Newsletter, reorganized and edited by Mark Fonder.
Revised June 2016
Suggestions for improving ensemble work for conductors and players
Please Conduct, Don't Talk
From the Rear Row and Lowest Voice
A Tuba Player's Reminders for Community Band Conductors
David C. McCormick lecture at The Midwest Clinic, December 16, 2005