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Conductors III
  Thinking about it - in our amateur symphony orchestra we twice had a conducting workshop. During a day, 10 conductors-in-training and/or choir conductors needing to practice with an orchestra, came to practice with us and be coached by our conductor, who's a pro. That was great. And hilarious, too! Not to mention I was flat, after 7 hours of work (amateur, yeah yeah). I sat up close (being the cello principal) and so got to see mistakes and difficulties and hesitations and fear, all that, first hand. It was a revelation.

It's not that the orchestra plays by itself - well, in the best case, it will, but you still have to set it in motion! Achieving that is an art in itself.
It was a revelation also in that I realised precisely to what as an orchestra player one actually reacts, and how! People making large gestures inadvertently (say, choir conductors) quickly will have you turn up dynamics. Small gestures will do, but apparently that requires guts, and these gestures have to be extremely precise, otherwise it will be piano without any articulation.
Looking at the orchestra members, really making eye contact is crucial - if a conductor looks in his score a lot (for safety? out of lack of interest), you go on automatic pilot.
Facial expression/mimique (kudo's for Perkins)is very important too - can be minute gestures, but extremely important. Wind players could tell us even more about this. What more is needed? Consistency in the beat. No unnecessary waving about. Little talk or explanation. A smile or rewarding geste from time to time. Radiating energy, enthusiasm. In the seconds before starting, radiating that you trust the orchestra members are going to do great (even if you have a doubt here and there, say, 'cs there was little rehearsal time). Ah, and humor and the ability to laugh at oneself!
  Author: LN_Cello
Eintrag from 20.09.2008
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