Conducting courses?

The Cornet King

Active Member
Hello good people. :D

I have recently been asked to conduct my bands junior band. Now i have an acceptable knowledge of music theory, the workings of a brass band etc, can read a score, however i have no conducting experience whatsoever, even though i think i could do a half decent job!

So just wondering if anyone knows of any summer conducting courses/masterclasses. If not i ask you conductors out there to pass on some useful hints and tips. :D :D

Cheers in advance. :p

Di B

After taking this job on for my band last August I know the situation you are faced with!!!

A few things I have learnt if it helps....

Be over enthisiastic and be prepared to have a giggle with the juniors. It's amazing how much difference this makes to their opinion of the rehearsal even if you did mess up! :lol:

Get the first few pieces of music you are going to go through and study them at home. Knowing your music is always important, but to do this when starting out gives you more confidence - read the music and look for the obvious slips that will happen (ie dynamic changes, accompanying a solos loud, not together on quavers, all basic stuff) This will also show the band that you know what you are doing even though you don't! :wink:

Know your band. One pitfall I fell foul of is that not only do you need to address children differently depending on their age they will also react differently. Are they adults, teenagers or 5 year olds? Think of basic language you can use to emphasise what you want from them.... staccato might not work but really really short will! You will understand individual personalities the more you settle in and then you can interact more with people from thereon.

Give the kids as much respect as you would an adult. They are little people after all.

Finally, be confident on the outside! Older members in my training band were surprised to find out a few weeks down the line I had little experience with beginner bands and was in fact a nervous wreck when conducting. They felt sure that I knew what I was doing because I was so confident and therefore felt comfortable doing as I asked. I think a nervous conductor only makes for a nervous band.

Finally, be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them. We all make mistakes, its just how you deal with them that is important.

Hope that helps


PS. As for the stick wagging, kids don't really care about style! As long as you can do 1,2,3,4 you will be fine! :lol:

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
Basically what Di said :

Go for fun, exciting music they the kids'll like, their parent's will like, and YOU KNOW!!!!

Get to know your player's abilities. Kids like challenges, but don't want to be pushed into the impossible.

At some conducting workshops I've been to they've said don't admit to mistakes. I disagree. If you do admit to it, it shows your as amateur as they are, and you are doing it only for the love of music. However, watch out for the smarties that do study music to a higher level. When push comes to shove, having a strong theory background will help.

Show enjoyment. I conduct both the junior AND senior bands, and at contest one baritone player told me he can tell when they're playing well. I smile, step back from the music slightly, and the music swells moreso. If you look content with everyone's effort, the band will work with you. Which is an extension of the conductor's philosophy "What they see is what you get".

Going to a conducting workshop this weekend organised by the QBA with 2 of our A grade conductors. Having worked with the third already, this should just about fill me with all the key points. Darn shame I haven't met Howard Taylor yet. Do your organising comittees organise these things? Hvae you asked??? No doubt there'd be bands everywhere in similar situations where they'd love the chance to work witha section 1/2 or champ conductor.


Active Member
I practice in front of a mirror, especially at work!! cos, i've nothing better to do, just think about what you look like to your band. I feel I'm learning as I go (you've seen me conduct, you know how true that is :lol: ) But the band know i'm leaning and give me the odd pointer in the pub!!

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