what makes a really good conductor?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Mesmerist, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I have had the good fortune to experience rehearsals with Steve Sykes, Philip Harper(only once but boy was it good!) Nigel Seaman (my all time favourite what a gentleman love him to bits) Johnny williams, Johnathon Camps and David johnson (new but will be one of the greats and had good result with newly promoted Verwood in 3rd Section). (oh and the incomparible Derek Greenwood how could I forget him!}
    But what makes him (or her) really good? It has to be more than musical genius doesn`t it? Is it man management? confidence? Experience or even just good jokes and the ability to push a band to the limits, get results and inspire us to work like devils?:confused:
  2. Lotta

    Lotta Member

    I think you have answered your own question as they have to have all the qualities you've mentioned. They have to know how to get the best out of people... I'm sure some bands like to be balled at to get them to respond, others like a light heated approach but know where the line is so it's not crossed.

    I think if you have respect for the person in the middle, thats half the battle and it makes their job easier. People agree?
  3. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    As long as they tell the Trombones they're too loud, I'm happy. :)
  4. floral_dance

    floral_dance Member

    Do they ever tell them anything else...........
  5. Lotta

    Lotta Member

    ha ha ha!!!!! Thats what I thought!! :)
  6. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    They just have to be Jonathon Camps on stage. Well done to Jonathon and all Hyde members for their success at the areas
  7. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    a clear beat you can follow helps!!! ;)
  8. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    *controversy alert*
    I think women should be the best conductors, because trying to get the best out of a band is a bit like managing a roomful of mardy toddlers. They have to be cajoled and encouraged, but they also need to be disciplined. They have to be rewarded when they do good and their little egos have to be treated carefully.
    Why are there so few lady conductors (conductresses?)
  9. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Interesting point...and that's not being sarcastic!

    Perhaps it's an ego thing? My impression (and correct me if you think I'm wrong, ladies) is that girls are generally less egotistical than chaps. Not saying that this is generally a bad thing, but I reckon you need a bit of an ego to stand in front of a group of people who (usually!) all have a pretty good idea of what they're doing and try make them do it your way, not theirs. Maybe girls just aren't self-centred enough?

    Or perhaps you're all just too sensible to put yourself in the firing line!
  10. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    I've always thought that copper makes a good conductor, unless you have access to lanthanum-based cuprate perovskite material and a coolant to get to <35 degrees K.

    I'm not sure this answers your question though.......
  11. Lotta

    Lotta Member

    Think that's more like it! ;)

  12. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    I thought the Metropolitan Police Band folded a few years ago?
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe it wasn't PC enough :oops:
  14. six pints

    six pints Active Member

    hoy! the bad thread is that way!!! (points to it)

  15. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    someone who knows what they're talking about and doesnt talk p00h!!
  16. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Yes, staying totally chilled while working extremely hard makes for a super conductor...

  17. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    My favourite conductors are always people who have a very clear beat when they're actually conducting.
    But the main thing is the way they approach the band and their personality. Some conductors are SO critical that it becomes very depressing to be at band... I don't mind being criticised, but I'd like any improvements to be noticed as well. It's important to hear if you're doing something well! We had a guest conductor for 2 bandstand gigs last summer who was SOOOO nice - he came up to me after both gigs to say how well I'd played, and it meant a lot to me! On the other hand, we've had situations where the conductor (not our regular MD, Andy) has quite openly shouted "That was rubbish!" after numbers haven't gone well on bandstands. We're all perfectly aware of when things haven't gone well but don't need to be shouted at so that the audience can hear as well! Interesting that the numbers that went wrong are things we normally played perfectly well when Andy conducts...

    Andy is very sarcastic... I quite like that. He doesn't take things too seriously so if you make a major mistake it doesn't seem to matter TOO much.

    My mum is a professional musician - all her favourite conductors are the ones who are nice to work with... if you're miserable, you're not going to perform well!
  18. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I think it's important that a conductor knows when to move on. As a dep, I've been approached after rehearsals and gigs and been asked if I want to do it permanently.

    Two things there: (1) As one of the "apporoacher"s was a band's chairman, that band's committee needed to address the unhappiness within the band. (2) Would I WANT to conduct a band that was was blatantly disloyal to its incumbent MD?

    Personally, I think a dep conductor should be content with (1) doing a good job, (2) being thanked or paid, and (3) sensing that the members are thinking "Ta very much for helping out, now p*** off so we can have our real conductor back!"
  19. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I vaguely remember and anecdote about Richard Strauss; as a young conductor working with a resentful orchestra, he was having a problem with a (french) horn player who declared his part unplayable. Strauss, whose father was a horn player, took the instrument from the player and, without warming up, played the part perfectly.

    I've known brass band conductors who have done similar things; always helps to build respect if you can "walk the walk".

    There are lots of things that make up a competent conductor - baton technique, musical knowledge, management skills, experience - but the really great ones all seem to have a kind of indefinable charisma that makes players want to play for them, and audiences want to listen.
  20. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    will the sec have you considered that it might just be because you are brilliant?!!!!! We all know in the first few minutes if a conductor has what it takes and surely we have all sat in abject gloom when someone incompetent stands in front. I could name the worst person ever but either i am not brave enough or just cannot be that cruel. (I don`t think he has a band...) This is such an important post and can destroy bands if it goes wrong.
    P.S I love Chris Davies rehearsals, just love the intensity he generates but maybe some find that scary.
    Steve sykes scares me, i adore both him and Jo but Steve hears EVERYTHING!!!! The man is an absolute genius. One look and i get really nervous...

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