Conducting (Conductors) – Striving for Perfect Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on December 21, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Conducting (Conductors’) Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate conducting technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

As an Alexander Technique teacher who was also a concert classical guitarist, I strove for perfect technique as a concert guitarist. It was the Alexander Technique that saved me from permanently damaging my wrist on the guitar and took the limits off of my ability to play what I wanted on the guitar.

The holy grail of the conductor is perfect technique for perfect communication. It is usually an unspoken goal that the conductor aspires to. Since striving for perfect conducting technique is usually never really talked about, is it a sane reachable goal? Or is it what keeps the conductor going, even though it makes no sense, like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain forever, hoping one day the rock will not roll down the other side?

“PERFECT TECHNIQUE” IS ATTAINABLE WHEN THE RULES OF PERFORMANCE THAT THE CONDUCTOR IS APPLYING MAKES SENSE. THIS MEANS THAT THE POSTURE OF THE WHOLE BODY AND THE WAY THE HANDS AND ARMS COMMUNICATE, MAKE THE MOST DIFFICULT PASSAGES AND WORKS EASIER AND EASIER AND EASIER TO PLAY OR SING FOR THE ORCHESTRA AND/OR CHORAL GROUP, WITHOUT THE CONDUCTOR HARMING HIS OR HER BODY.

As obvious as this sounds, so many conductors do the same things over and over that aren’t working, because these are the rules of good conducting technique that they were taught. Again, another unspoken exchange between the conducting student and the conducting teacher is, “If you just work HARD ENOUGH, eventually you will be able to conduct anything. I promise!”

The unspoken hook that keeps you doing what the teacher asks is that it will work, because it is SUPPOSED TO WORK. (This is what your conducting teacher was taught by his or her conducting teacher.)

At what point do you pull the plug? What do I mean? At what point do you question what you’re been doing to perfect your conducting technique? The sooner the better!

Understand that I’m asking you, the conductor, to pull the plug on what is NOT working that you’ve been doing for years, instead of doing what you’ve been doing, because it is SUPPOSED TO WORK AND YOU WERE PROMISED WOULD WORK.

This is MAGICAL THINKING. What I mean is that you have combined two things to keep you striving the same way you have been for years. Magical thinking, in this circumstance, says that if you do what I ask you to do as you conduct, combined with endless hours of practice, will magically make you a great conductor.

So, at what point do you realize that the technique you are trying so diligently to make work is the problem, and that you’re not the problem? What do I mean that you’re not the problem? I mean that if you had been mastering a conducting technique that wasn’t conflicted, that the promise of easeful fine conducting would already be yours.

Since most of the thousands upon thousands of practicing endless hours conductors out there are at best mediocre conductors, does that mean that these mediocre conductors lack the talent to be fine conductors, or are they trying to make work in conducting what will never work? I choose the latter.

I used the term conflicted conducting technique two paragraphs ago. Let me define it. CONFLICTED CONDUCTING TECHNIQUE IS A CONDUCTING TECHNIQUE THAT IS A COMBINATION OF WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T WORK. WHEN YOU COMBINE WHAT WORKS WITH DOESN’T WORK, THEN YOU WILL NEVER REACH THE GOAL OF EFFORTLESSLY CONDUCTING/COMMUNICATING THE MOST DIFFICULT WORTHWHILE ORCHESTRAL AND/OR CHORAL MUSIC.

The sooner you keep what works in your conducting, release what doesn’t work, and add what else works, the sooner the rock will not roll down the other side of the mountain.

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