Qualities we value most in our conductors
- Have a special quality (control magic) that completely takes the orchestra by storm, and keeps them on their toes. Those individual qualities in a conductor may push you out of your comfort zone, they may be comfortable for you. Either way, you end up with a brand new experience, and to me, new experiences are the best experiences you can get.
- Kind yet frank approach
- Take time to answer questions thoroughly
- It's important for each and every fantastic conductor to have a special quality about them - (control magic) that completely takes the orchestra by storm, and keeps them on their toes. I personally like observing those individual qualities in a conductor...they may push you out of your comfort zone, they may be comfortable for you. Either way, you end up with a brand new experience, and to me, new experiences are the best experiences you can get.
- Having a presence that gets children's attention. This can be physical, if the conductor has a large frame or a booming voice, but can also be had by body language. The conductor must always be in control physically. Signs of distress will kill the connection to the young musicians.
- Conductors need to be full of energy and willing to interact and communicate with the members on a one on one basis not just as a leader but as a colleague.
- It is extremely important to have fun with what you are doing and how you are doing it. If it's not fun, then why are you doing it? Create a relationship with your students that is more than a student-teacher one and more of a friend to friend relationship.
- Clear musical idea in mind and be able to communicate it to the orchestra using motion, and if you must, using words; reasonable, well planned tempos.
- Be demanding enough to get respect from the orchestra, but respect the musicians and be sure to have a sense of humor.
- Don't settle for just good - challenge us and make it great, I never like hearing the phrase "well that's good enough...let's move on."
- Patience with a firm hand: be patient if we're trying, but don't let us slack off (that drives me mad when conductors don't hold players responsible for knowing their part. It makes the group sound messy and gets on my nerves).
- I love a conductor who is clear and specific about what needs to be changed and works efficiently to make the change and move on. I value a conductor that expects each student to work hard to become their best self, and speaks to a student privately if he or she needs to practice more.
- Ability to engage us to our full capacity in order to create a meaningful and memorable musical experience; energetic attitude.
- They make it clear that parts must be practiced away from rehearsal; rehearsals should not be practicing in public.
- Committed, creative, and FOCUSED!
- Clear downbeat and good cues for important entrances.
- Expressive: I want someone who shows me a whole range of emotions and shows me what I need to be conveying in my music. There's more to music than just dynamics.
- An ear to catch mistakes quickly; make the orchestra aware of it using gestures or stopping to explain.
- Deep love for the music.
- Treating the music like a painting: caring about every detail.
- I value conductors who expect focus and hard work, but who can also connect with the orchestra. I find that so many conductors worry about how they will be liked by the orchestra, which leads to a more clinical approach to music. So, I value conductors who are able to incorporate the importance of dynamics and tempo without forgetting about expressing music as art.
- Willingness to help us understand the music, to break down the parts, to train us to know what to listen for, to give us even things like historical context, background information, etc. We're young musicians, not walking encyclopedias.
- Helping us to listen to the other parts and be able to respond to them in such way as to create authentic, beautiful and moving music.
- Background knowledge on the music and its composer.
- Great conductor values the student as a person, expects the most from them, pushes them to learn better, inspires them to work hard, and gives them approval and appreciation when deserved.
- Ability to interpret music; to have music mean something to them.
- Solid, yet fluid movements, enthusiasm, familiarity with the music, confidence, reliability, and approachability with your students.
- They are efficient, don't talk too much; begin and end rehearsal on time; don't waste time. They teach interpretation - not notes or bowings and instead teach section leaders how to perform these tasks to pass along to their peers; they have a well-prepared rehearsal plan (and back up plan!!!).
- It is always very helpful when directors fully express how they want us to play; this normally gets the musicality they want or need the piece to sound like. When they acknowledge the fact that we play a phrase or more beautifully, that increases our perception of how, even as young musicians, we can make beautiful music.
- Leadership, Wisdom, Inspiration, Kindness, a mentor in music/life.
- An open mind and a love for music.
- Respect for students verbally and emotionally; straightforwardness; no flattering; humility.
- This seems like a "duh" thing to say, but I can't stand conductors and teachers who are too afraid or too stubborn to step outside the box.
- Personable: I want to feel that I'm able to approach you easily. Have conversations with your students, joke with them even; it will make you seem less intimidating. This will make students more comfortable, and more likely to approach you.
- Strong personality and a boisterous voice; without these you have absolutely no hope of holding our attention, you must captivate us, and if we can't hear you we won't listen.
- Be happy. Like kids and be nice to us. Be patient with us and help us understand things.
- Make the orchestra feel like they are included and like they are important. Improvise and just let go. Be relaxed and completely yourself. Show that orchestra that you are just the same as them and that they should not be scared of you. Be the kind of person that the orchestra will love.
- I want to feel ok to ask if I don't know; respect for self, and others, clarity.
- A conductor who has a mixture of humor and leadership. A conductor who helps us in a kind way, not in a superior or self-centered way. A conductor who is clear in what s/he wants and finds a way to get it...including trying over and over again.
- Control by leadership, not by dictatorship.
- I always value energy and passion. Music is so exciting and watching a conductor love music will inspire a student to try hard and get excited as well.
- The most important things are a general knowledge of the piece, and consistent, clear conducting. What makes conductors extraordinary is having something special to share with musicians of all ages. Showing your passion as a conductor is immediately evident and appreciated, and passion breeds more passion.
- Making sure rehearsals are well planned; meaning no time is wasted but there's plenty of fun, too. I love when my conductors interact with me personally not only in rehearsal but also in our personal lives.
- For me, the best conductors I've had were patient, persistent, and believed in repetition.
please share your own knowledge and advice here
please share your own knowledge and advice here