Tips to Conductors


The art of conducting is not about waving your hands with eloquent gestures, but about responsibility. Conductors have a responsibility to understand the music, a responsibility to the musicians performing the music, and a responsibility to the audience listening to the music. Beyond all else, conductors have a responsibility to the composer. This brief guide will help conductors embody those responsibilities by avoiding common mistakes. Some of the advice will be more suited towards orchestral conducting, but others will focused on opera. There is a lot of over lap between orchestral conducting and operatic conducting, but there are also a number of differences. Most orchestral conducting involves the near exclusive leadership of the conductor, while pera conducting is split between accompanying the singers and leading the orchestra.

Orchestral Conducting

  • Geography of the Score - One of the most common mistakes that young conductors make is not orienting themselves to the layout of their score. The geography of the score means all the rehearsal letters or numbers, the measure numbers, movements, and instrumental layout. Understanding where you are at any time drastically increases the efficiency of rehearsal time, and also gives the players more confidence in your ability to lead. It is always difficult to see young conductors take a significant amount of time to figure out where to start.