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The aim of this method is to present to a conducting student a method of conducting.
The main object of  this method is  to prepare the conductor BEFORE he goes to the orchestra.

Not many people imagine, that one of the main important works of the conductor is the preparation before he sees the orchestra for the first time.
As well as the method the aim is to let the general public discover what conducting really means outside of the media clichés.

During the past years I have spoken to many people of every social level, most of which think that conducting is waving arms and looking angrily at the orchestra in order to create an artificial impression of power, as well  making  an emotional and artificial show to the orchestra.

A serious conductor has to develop a clear movement technique and a strong musical personality to persuade the orchestra to play with them. A very good baton technique is needed to conduct recitative, opera, accompanying soloists and ballet.

I hope in this book to give a clearer light as to how many factors are involved in conducting.
The first part is dedicated to movement technique.  During my own studies and during my first fifteen years of professional  experience and reflection about conducting I created some movement exercises to help the students discover what he/she is doing with his/ her movements.

This is to develop a conscious and not improvised way of how to move as a conductor.

This is very important due to the fact that every culture - institution who wants a conductor wishes  to see a DVD of the conducting skills of the candidate. It is very important to have independence of the hands and the following exercises will help to discover this.  These exercises should help the student to find his own way of conducting.

I then make a difference between  “organization  conducting” and “ingredient conducting”.  organization conducting means that the first motivation is to show a clear beat in order to guide the musicians through the piece – where  they should put their notes.

 Typical pieces for organization conducting are recitatives in the opera , contemporary scores with a lot of changing beats. A typical example is the recitative from “the magic flute”, “Die Weisheitslehre dieser Knaben” .
Ingredient conducting means to show more information in the beat, like accents, crescendo, diminuendo and emotional contents.  Technically speaking in ingredient conducting you are more freer and you can use a more varied repertoire of gesticulation in order to create and modulate an orchestra sound. A typical piece of ingredient conducting is the second movement of Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony or Rachmaninov’s first movement of his second symphony.
The second part is devoted to the ear. A conductor qualifies him/herself through an excellent quality of hearing. You will find various advices to open your ear for different aspects, as low notes, ranges, cords, text , and so on.

The following parts will analyze different aspects from the score, different rehearsal situations for  the orchestra and soloists, as well as for the stage which also includes opera and ballet.


Emmanuel Siffert -