The conducting view is very diverse. On the podium the musicians can distinguish you from the fool to the deserved title Maestro.
I hope to have given in this work an insight into which factors are included in conducting and which work is needed to achieve a high standard. Many people tell me “you can just learn conducting when you are before the orchestra”. This is right, but after a huge preparation level, then you can learn and take the most learn-process out of it and you don’t lose time and energy, because you are a barrier to yourself because of the lack of your own personal preparation.
You should now be able to approach a score in the right way and later on at rehearsal with orchestra, to conduct clean a recitative , contemporary repertoire or an opera with many tempo and beat changes. The conductor needs a strong un-improvised technique to be able to conduct all this kind of repertoire. The number of rehearsals are more limited in the actual situation, it’s even more important for the conductor to be ready at the very first rehearsal. And if you are making mistakes now, that is completely natural, because now you are starting to have the practical experience before the orchestra, but on a high preparation level. Reflect after every rehearsal what you did, recommendable is also to record your rehearsal on DVD.
I hope this method gave you some help to find your own way, adapted your unique personality how to use your hands. You should have the technique now to be able to show the Indrigient of a music-work like phrasing, articulation, dynamics, tenuto, legato, staccato , and so on. And now you can get the most out of it to see the reaction of the orchestra from your gesture. Again here it’s most useful to reflect every rehearsal in order to improve your practical conducting technique before the orchestra.
After this method I hope to have opened the ear to the different factors that conducting includes. I would like to repeat that the method should be seen as a guide how to approach a score and how to listen in specific situations. The conductor should be now better ready and prepared to conduct , and ; even more important; to rehearse the orchestra.
Nevertheless the ear develops in the whole life of a conductor with every new score you will be working on.
The psychology with the orchestra
I didn’t speak about this until now, because I didn’t want to put too much importance to it. I think there are 3 rules to respect:
- You should be very well prepared before you approach a rehearsal with an orchestra, then you will be respected
- You should be completely yourself, and don’t play a false and artificial authority, the orchestra will recognize this immediately
- You should reflect after every rehearsal your way of approaching and your way of communication with the orchestra, especially when you are at the beginning of your activity. As mentioned before, it’s very useful to record your rehearsal on DVD, so the conductor can observe the good things and the things that need to improve.
I hope that this method has opened an additional view to the new conducting student, but also for amateur and choir conductors, and in general to people who are interested in this art. I wish that every one can take some profit from it for his proper needs.
Conducting is an endless process in studying scores, rehearsing with orchestras (from small ensembles to very big symphony orchestras), singers, ballet-dancers. After many years of experience and reflection in all these fields you will finally deserve to be named “Maestro”.
Finally I would wish that this work gives also a further motivation to discover more and more about this fascinating and exciting profession.
Emmanuel Siffert - www.emmanuelsiffert.com
Note of thanks
I would like to thank Mr. Ubaldo Ponzio (construction of this website), the record-company SMC recordings (Italy) and Mrs. Brenda Hayes (English Adviser) for the support in helping me build this Conducting Method.