Tips for conducting a high school orchestra?
I'm a senior at a New York High school, and of the two orchestras, I'll be the conductor of the advanced group for a piece I've been adamant of.
I have sat in countless festivals and select student orchestras such as SCMEA LISFA NYSCAME and beyond, so I know the basic conducting patterns and then some: such as exaggerating. (age is 16, years playing is 12)
Does anyone have tips for rehearsal? The piece is Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas. Rehearsal will be done entirely by me, as my teacher has allowed me due to my knowledge/experience.
I have plans to buy a baton, and have constructed the seating arrangement
All tips and suggestions ranging from conducting movements to warm-up exercises welcome!
Conducting is no less a learned skill than playing an instrument; I strongly suggest that you take some conducting lessons in advance of this experience. If your high school director isn't available to teach you, perhaps your youth orchestra conductor would give you some lessons.
Some basics I always hand off to my student conductors:
I've sat in front of conductors since 1948 and agree 100% with Gene Wie! Michael's remarks also are very good and should be studied, understood and followed.
Don't over-conduct. Many conductors think they need big motions when they really don't.
Don't get upset. Many conductors do that.
One important aspect of a conductor's skill is that he should make it his business to understand of the workings of every type of instrument in the orchestra, and what problems they are likely to run into. It isn't necessary for the conductor to be able to play every instrument (!), although competence in at least one is useful. A conductor should be prepared if necessary to discuss technical problems of an instrument with which he is not familiar with the principal of that instrument section.
I have no experience in conducting as a high schooler so I cannot comment. But I do have a sarcastic comment:
"One of the best orchestra conductors I have sat in front of never used a baton - and he was thus able to use individual fingers to great advantage."
@ Paul Deck OOOOOOOFF you sound like my violin advisor
I am not sure I understood Michael McGrath's comment about "anacrusis". But I am sure everyone else did. I found his other comments very inightful.
Every Tuesday and Thursday Graeme! Fun times!
Thankyou all very much. There are too many of you here to thank individually!