- Conductors are usually present in one of the following
- Jazz group
- Smaller instrumental ensemble
Some people are confused by the point of a conductor, what do
they do? How can the players understand what they are doing?
Like instrumentalists, conductors also have their own sense of
style and each will vary from ensemble to ensemble. The style will also change according to genre as there
are different factors to consider, for example, a band leader or conductor of a jazz group will keep the
band in time as well as signal when performers are to take solos.There are some general tips on how to treat conductors before
understanding how to follow them.
- When playing a concert, the performers should always stand
an applaud to show respect
- The lead instrumentalists of each section should follow
the conductor the closest. It is their responsibility to lead the other players in their
- Watch the conductor using your peripheral vision.
This will allow you to follow them as well as read your music.
- When the composer states the next piece of music, quickly
and quietly change you music, especially in a concert situation. Talking and chatting in-between
undermines their seniority.
A conductor does so much more than keep time. They
know the music inside out and shape the orchestra, leading them during a performance. Here
are some quick tips on how to follow the conductor;
The baton, usually held in the right hand
will determine the tempo of the beat. The conductor usually holds a baton to show
clarity to the rest of the players. The downward stroke will determine the first beat of the bar.
If a player ever becomes lost in a piece of music, this will allow them to start the next bar at the correct
point. For example, in a standard time piece of music, the first beat is down, the second to the left,
the third to the right and the fourth upwards. This then starts again from the
The conductor will determine the quality of the
beat and what he wants the orchestra do to with it by using expressive gestures. Body language
and even facial expressions can determine a loud, aggressive beat of music or a soft subtle one. Again,
it is important for the conductor to know the music. More often
than not he is watching the orchestra and guiding them, rather than following the music.