You Never Hear This…

As a band conductor, I’m thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that this genre has provided. The love of “musicing“, a term used by David Elliot in Music Matters, has affected almost every aspect of my life.  I’ll never forget the details of my beginner year in band.  Mr. Robbins was so passionate about his love for music making it was infectious. I couldn’t help but think, “wow, this is awesome, I want to do this for the rest of my life.”  Almost 30 years and three degrees later, here I am.

Observing rehearsals and performances is something we all do often.  It’s a terrific way to grow and solidify philosophies both in terms and teaching and performing.  As a student, teacher, student, teacher, student, now teacher again, I’ve often wondered why I seem to never hear certain comments made about an ensemble or their conductor.  So, is it my perception that people never say these things or is it a reality? For example,

1.  “The ensemble plays too soft.”

2.  “The ensemble plays too much attention to articulation variety.”

3.  “The conductor gives too much of shapes and style and not enough time.”

4.  “The ensemble plays so well in tune that you can hear all the overtones.”

5.  “The ensemble moves and communicates too much through movement and eye contact.”

6.  “The conductor takes too many risks with adventurous programming.”

7.  “The ensemble plays with too much attention to phrase shapes.”

8. “The ensemble blends so well that individuals are heard only during solo or soli passages.”

9.  “The ensemble plays too emotion.”

10.  “The conductor too often serves as the conduit for ALL musical specifics versus visually providing a description of the overall musical message.”

To clarify, we’ve all heard performances or rehearsals that stop us dead in our tracks and cause us to say, “WOW, that ensemble really “insert line from above.”  THOSE are the ensembles and conductors that inspire us to become better at what we do.  So, how often do you hear these observations made?

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