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10 things all conductors know

Features - Classical Music

10 things all conductors know

by Limelight Magazine on March 19, 2016 (March 19, 2016) filed under Classical Music | Comment Now
Baton? Check! Tails? Check! Coloured pencils? Check! Crazy hair? Check! It takes a lot to be a masterful maestro.

A maestro is a formidable figure! They are magicians of music who can hold an entire orchestra in the palm of their hands. But underneath the imposing exterior is a far more sensitive soul than many might expect. Here are the ten truths that all conductors will recognise.


You are not a control freak...

… ok, maybe just a tiny bit…


… But you are definitely not a monster

The stereotype of the scary, tyrannical conductor is a far cry from the reality. Surprisingly enough, it’s far easier to get the best out of your colleagues in the orchestra if you’re not screaming blue murder at them!


There are a lot of photos of you pulling strange faces

Being a conductor is not the most photo-ready of professions. It's hard to strike a pose or show your best side when you're controlling a stage full of musicians!


You own more coloured pencils and highlighters then you care to admit

After all, you can’t be expected to read all that teeny-tiny type in boring old black ink.


Sometimes, when no one’s looking, you pretend to be Harry Potter

A baton can be used for more than just marking tempo. WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA!


You’re often misunderstood by the world

No, it’s not just “standing at the front, waving your arms.” Well, it is, but there’s a lot more to it than just that!


You do crazy things when you get excited

Nobody expresses passion on quite the same level as a conductor. Get ready for the Fortississississamo, in 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF!


You own a lot of different “uniforms”...

Tails for the orchestra, all black for contemporary music, a white tuxedo for pops concerts, and most importantly, a polo-neck for rehearsals.


… and you get through a lot of dry cleaning.

Conducting is a lot like a full-on aerobic workout… while wearing several layers of 19th-century fashion! “Sweating buckets” just doesn’t cover it.


You are statistically more likely to have a crazy hairdo

Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, James Levine, Andre Previn in the 1970s… need I say more?