Conducting Articles

"Give a musician a baton, and it goes to his mouth." Rochester Philharmonic violinist, related by Marvin Rabin, emeritus professor, University of Wisconsin

Tim Reynish and Mark Heron tackle the difficult Art of Conducting in a series of articles drawing on a number of eminent authorities and their own experience as professional players. In the first two articles they approach Score Study from differing viewpoints, exploring various ways of tackling a score, from sticking on a CD to the European method of Seven trips through a score.

Score Study Part 1: What's The Score?

Tim Reynish

These are roughly my approaches to any score. I suppose it can all be summed up in a few words, Phrasing - Dynamics - Tone - Balance - Clarity

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Score Study Part 2: Some Thoughts on Score Study

© Mark Heron 2004

Recordings - sense or sacrilege? - Seven trips through the Score - Marking the score

More articles at

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Master Class or Take the Decibels Down

by Richard Strauss, Max Rudolf, Erich Leinsdorf, Gunther Schuller, Pierre Boulez, Walter Beeler and William Shakespeare.

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Warm Ups - Warming-up your Ensemble

Firstly let me dispel a misconception: warm-ups and exercises are NOT just for 'non-expert' players.

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Knowing The Conductors Role

Reflections on wind band conducting with help from Erich Leinsdorf, Gunther Schuller and Leopold Mozart

I have before recommended Erich Leinsdorf's book The Composer's Advocate as being essential bedside reading for every conductor, with an honoured place by his or her bedside. I came back to his chapter Knowing the Conductor's Role time and time again in rehearsals for a concert and subsequent CD recording of the Berlioz Symphonie Funebre et Triomphale and the Milhaud Suite Francaise, two works which need careful control and balance.

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Technique Of Directing

The best conducting technique is that which achieves the maximum musical result with the minimum of effort. Fritz Reiner

Technique is "the immediate and precise response of the hands to the direction sent out by the mind". Ivan Galamian

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Choice Of Repertoire

We must learn to teach music - not band, not orchestra, not chorus, but music itself...Choosing music is the single most important thing a band director can do, and is the only thing a band director can do alone, made more important because of the substandard repertoire continuously being published. So many publishers in the business today are printers who don't care about quality, but only about what will sell. We must not allow them to give the band a bad reputation nor to make our decisions for us, since the music we choose today can affect students for ever. Frederick Fennell

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Score Preparation - Analysis And Score Marking

Tim Reynish describes a personal method of tackling any score; some elements of it might be useful to you.

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Score Study for the Wind Band Conductor - Frank Battisti & Robert Garafalo (Meredith Music Publications)

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Conducting, Not Directing

A simple definition of the art of conducting could be that it involves eliciting from the orchestra with the most appropriate minimum of conductorial (if you will, choreographic) gestures a maximum of accurate acoustic result.

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Rehearsal Techniques

Rehearsal disciplines - Starting the group - Rhythm versus beat - Dynamic levels - Tuning procedures - Warm up - Plan your rehearsal.

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Improving The Sound Of The Band

by Walter Beeler

From 1935 to the late 1960s and then again in the early 1970s, Walter Beeler (1908-1973) led the Ithaca College Concert Band to national prominence. In doing so, he built a legion of highly-successfull band directors, many of whom are still active today. Notable alumni include Frank Battisti, Thomas Everett, Arnald Cabriel, Anthony Maiello and many others.

This version first appeared in the WASBE Newsletter, reorganized and edited by Mark Fonder.

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Performance Practice

Revised June 2016

Suggestions for improving ensemble work for conductors and players

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Please Conduct, Don't Talk

From the Rear Row and Lowest Voice

A Tuba Player's Reminders for Community Band Conductors

David C. McCormick lecture at The Midwest Clinic, December 16, 2005

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