I am playing in an orchestra again and I have become conscious of "conductors" again after a fairly long hiatus. I think about what I like and don't like. I'll try to be positive. These are some of the characteristics of good conductors.
1. Efficient rehearsal technique: They can teach music quickly and efficiently. They don't waste time on things that are not working. Instead they find another way to teach it. They always say who is to play, what we are to play (e.g "first and second violins at measure 78 through the double bar"). They also rehearse continuity and transitions.
2. They speak in music. They use words like forte, piano, crescendo, ritardando, staccatto, legato. (as opposed to words like shimmer, glow, sparkle etc.)
3. The have a measure of understanding of the technique of each instrument. (They don't say spicatto at the tip.)
4. They have an ear. They tell you the note that is out of tune and the direction it is out of tune (sharp or flat). They can even describe a sequence of notes with direction of the intonation adjustment. (No cheating and just saying that something is out of tune.)
5. They can teach sonority. They can balance chords.
6. They enjoy conducting the classics.
And many more.
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