So what do you see as the purpose of an MD, David? To help the band achieve the best performance of which they are capable? Or to indulge in ego-tripping? If an MD can get across to a band or an individual what he wants, how he achieves that communication is entirely irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether he uses words, cracks a joke, picks up an instrument and plays it how he wants the band to play; the key point of conducting - as with teaching - is for the band to understand what the conductor is driving at. If any member of the band fails to understand what the conductor wants, then - clearly - the conductor has failed to communicate. (if the player understands what the conductor wants, but fails to deliver, that is clearly down to him - but it is the conductor's job to get the message across in a way that the player can grasp) If the player doesn't get the message, you may say "then the player is too dim" - but a good conductor ought to be able to communicate clearly with any and every member of his or her band. My stepfather told me this, about his time in the Army, in the 1930s: "If a man failed to understand the order, it was the officer who was called the fool by his superiors, not the man - because it was the officer's responsibility to frame his orders in such a way that any man under his command could understand them." One of the finest teachers I ever had was a corporal in the RAF, who told us this: "My job is not to show you how clever I am - but to show you that you can be clever, too!" And he did, too. Top man!