Online Class Discussion #3 is open for comments September 18-24. Refer to the grading rubric for requirements on commenting:

 


 

One of the most common questions that comes up in a music appreciation class is “Who is that guy waving his arms/stick/wand in time to the music?” That guy (or, more rarely, gal) is called a conductor (and they hold a baton).

conducting-dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel (b. 1981), a charismatic and entertaining Venezuelan conductor who currently conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic

The conductor’s job is to coordinate across the entire span of the orchestra (an ensemble that can have anywhere between 20 and 150 musicians), ensuring that the entire group is playing together. This means that whatever the basses on the far side of the stage are doing is happening at the same time and in the same tempo as what the violins on the other side of the stage are doing, and the winds and brass in the middle of the stage:

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The conductor is kind of like a football coach.

belichick
Conductors are usually better-dressed and less grumpy.

By this, I don’t mean that the music is somehow an opposing team that the orchestra is trying to defeat (although that sounds entertaining, too). Rather, just like a coach or a movie director, the conductor is leading a group of professionals with many years of training, many years of insight, and much talent and doing so with his overall vision and awareness of everything that’s going on.  When many musicians are working together to play a piece of music, there are as many opinions as there are players in the group. Someone has to decide how slow or fast to perform a piece, how loud it should be, and to make sure that all the individual sounds that are coming out of the various instruments blend well together. The conductor’s job is to make artistic decisions and guide the players in front of him by visually demonstrating what he would like them to do.

beethoven conducting
A depiction of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) conducting one of his own symphonies

Conductors are a relatively new phenomenon in classical music, and many musical traditions around the world do not use a conductor. They emerged in Western classical music in the 19th century as orchestras grew in size and as composers began writing increasingly complex and complicated music. As the role and prominence (and ego!) of conductors increased, their out-sized personalities became just as much as part of the musical experience, if not more so at times, as the sounds of the instruments and the composer’s wishes.

Many of the composers we’re studying this semester were also conductors, and they most often conducted their own music: Jean-Baptiste Lully (he died because of an injury caused by conducting!), Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Igor Stravinsky, and Whitney George, in addition to Felix Mendelssohn, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein.

A conductor’s job, according to a conductor

Omnibus was a TV program that aired on Sunday afternoons in the US during the 1950s and 1960s. It was funded by the Ford Foundation as an effort to educate Americans culturally. The main speaker throughout this episode is Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), an American composer, conductor, and educator. He hosted several episodes of Omnibus, each about a different musical topic, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, conducting, jazz, and opera. This episode is devoted to the art, practice, and history of conducting.

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/leonard_bernstein_omnibus_episode_3

 

A musician of many skills

British musician Clemency Burton-Hill’s article for the BBC provides a clearer, more concise explanation of the range of tasks involved in being a modern conductor, not only in rehearsals and on stage during a performance but also in terms of public relations: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20141029-what-do-conductors-actually-do

 

From an orchestral musician’s perspective

Here is an excellent forum discussion on Reddit on the importance of a conductor by several classical musicians:  https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1iq5vu/eli5_why_is_a_music_conductor_necessary/  (Also note that each participant’s response is thoughtful, well-written, and helpful — this is a really good online discussion!)

 

Where are all the women?

Throughout this post, I’ve mostly been referring to conductors using masculine pronouns (he, him, his). Word choice matters, and typically, I would talk about any job in the music field by saying something like “his or her job is to listen to the entire ensemble…” However, traditionally only men have assumed the role of conductors. There are many factors that lead to this: gender roles in the 19th century that define a woman’s social role in terms of domesticity, workplace-family balance challenges of the 20th century, and continued sexism against women in supervisory or leadership roles.

We’ll revisit sexism in the classical music world in Online Class Discussion #6 (November 6-12), but for now, here is an article outlining the ways in which some (male) conductors think that women can’t be as effective conductors as men: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/10282490/Men-make-better-conductors-says-Vasily-Petrenko.html

marin-alsop
Marin Alsop (b. 1956) is one of the most prominent conductors in the world. She conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

 

Conductors in the public eye

Conductors used to be superstars, well-known to people outside of the classical music world (like Leonard Bernstein being on TV above), so much so that several popular cartoons could reference them, knowing that their audience would be familiar with not only the conductors but also classical music.

There are many cartoons with classical music-centric plots, but here is Bugs Bunny in Long-Haired Hair (1949), in which he impersonates Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977), one of the 20th century’s most prominent conductors:

 

I hope that the role of the conductor is a bit more demystified for you now, but as with all knowledge, I also hope that knowing a little bit about a topic encourages you to learn more!

-Dr. J.

 

Some questions to get the conversation going:

  • What was your idea of a conductor previously? Where did that impression come from?
  • If you had the choice of being a musician in the orchestra or being the conductor, which one would you choose? Why?
  • What did you find most surprising or informative in the orchestral musicians’ Reddit conversation?
  • Why does it matter if most conductors are men?
  • Does it matter if listeners understand the role of a conductor?

114 thoughts on “What’s a conductor for, anyway? (Online Class Discussion #3)

  1. I find the information fascinating since I never knew how important and complicated the role of a conductor are to orchestra and how skillful they need to be the control and direct the flow of musics in which they envisioned. I also mostly though that the requirement of a conductor is just the basic understanding of how to play music, this was in fact just a tip of the iceberg of how the job of a conductor is since they need to know the language of musics and how each of the composer can work together the best. If I would to choose to be a musician in a orchestra or a conductor I would choose a conductor since they act similar to a director in a music, they would control the flow of a music and control the action of each of the musician and what to play and when to play it. Without any conductor in a orchestra each of the composer will act independently and play what they think the note are which will end up a jumble mess. This shows how important a conductor role is to an orchestra since they control the pulse and rhythm of the musics and how loud or soft the musician must play to make a great music.

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  2. with the advancement of globalization in modern day and the increasing role of minority in the modern world. How do you think this change in society effects the role of the conductors and does it open up more opportunity for variety of individuals to take on the role of conductors? Will this cause an increase or decrease in role women plays as an conductor and whether they’re effective or ineffective compare to men?

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    1. i believe female have same right or power like a male in today. some female can make million dollars in today, and some male only can make $4000 dollars a month. i believe everything male can do, female can do it too. I think its depend on the hobby. maybe we will see a lot of female conductor in the future.

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      1. I agree with you I think not only men are good at conducting women are capable to do the same job.I believe this a form of stereotyping.

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        1. I agree with you,i don’t see why they always put a limit to things when it comes to a woman capabilities verses a man..what does gender have to do with someones ability to do somethings. i believe it have to do with the person someone are,and what they think and know they can do.its their decisions.this ain’t slavery days no more,where we had slave owners who would demand who and how we do things. So Stereotypical

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    2. I think the opportunities will decrease for both males and females because technology is advancing and I can see them inventing a screen or something like that to replace the conductor.

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      1. i agree with you here in some ways. Do you think that since being a Conductor is such an important role and there are already so few of them, will it be one of the few jobs not replaced with technology?

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        1. Yeah probably. Not a lot of conductor jobs will mean they wont have to spend much money to replace them with technology.

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      2. this may be a good thought, but for more lively entertainment, audience will more likely to have someone in person upon the stage to profrom their task rather than having technology.

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  3. Conductor is the soul of the orchestra, he has unlimited power, can often control the whole song rendering speed and performance results; the most important is that he must have the best potential to stimulate the responsibility of the orchestra members.Conductor has many effects, most notably through the command to organize and train the orchestra, playing speed control, works to maintain the structure and form of unity, so that the orchestra can correctly and consistently played works.

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    1. i believe female have same right or power like a male in today. some female can make million dollars in today, and some male only can make $4000 dollars a month. i believe everything male can do, female can do it too. I think its depend on the hobby. maybe we will see a lot of female conductor in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was in a school band before and in my opinion, the cunductor(my music teacher) moves slow, soft, or in big movements according to how music should sound. He also points to the group of violins if it’s their turn to come in or moves his hands softer to the flute players so they can play more softer.

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    2. I believe with a lot of practice it becomes like a natural second language for them. After doing something so much you get better at understanding what the conductor movements mean.

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    3. I wondered the same thing. But I am sure they study these kind of movements behind the scenes before coming Infront of an audience.

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  4. If i could be one of the musicians or the conductor. I would choose to be the conductor because they call the shots. Also if i were to mess up at least all of the musicians will do so with me and it will make it sound planned. As one of the musicians one bad sound will mess everything up.

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    1. I think yes. In order to be a conductor, you must know how to read the music notes with all the symbols. If you become a conductor without knowing how to read the music, the band will be a mess! They rely on the conductor a lot so if the band ever messes up, it might be the conductors fault.

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    2. Yes, I believe it requires some sort of training because one may simply not go up and just start waiving a baton around and hear a musical masterpiece. The position requires patience and leadership to control so many musicians without any feud and discipline them through the performance.

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      1. Become a conductor must require time and patience because basically you need to be able to understand all the sounds that the instruments produce. You also need to understand the melodies and have the ability of hearing with the heart. I personal believe that become a conductor school and a lot of years of experience.

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  5. I believe there’s a “conductor” in everything you do either you are in school or at work. Although they’re not called conductors they are in charge of a group and tell them what to do. At work, the store manager of course, would be considered a conductor since they’re in charge of who works which section of the store, what they should do in those sections. At school, the teacher would be the conductor giving out assignments and telling the students to read what pages and such. So is a conductor important in an orchestra? My answer is yes! Although people may think that there is no point in having a conductor there, he is there to bring everyone who is playing an instrument together. He does this so everyone plays at the same time and so everyone is on beat. Classical music would be a total chaos if there was nobody to lead them because of so many instruments trying to play at the same time.

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  6. Is conductor really THAT important in an orchestra assuming they practiced a gazillion times before the performance? Is it necessary for himt to be there or is it just a show within a show?

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    1. A conductor is an important player in a orchestra as a director to a movie, without a conductor the musician wouldn’t be coordinated and each of them would play what they feel like the notes are which will cause the music to be out of tone as each of the musician will play differently. The role of the conductor is a leader that guide the orchestra to play what he firmly believes the music should sound like. Practice won’t solve the problem that the orchestra hold large amount of musician and someone need to guide them on when to play a specific notes, how loud or soft a notes are and when a particular musician should pause or start playing.

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  7. If I had to choose between being a musician or being a conductor in an orchestra, I would choose being the conductor.I believe that a conductor is a great motivator and communicator, has a strong stage presence. He is able to build a connection with the musicians and uses hand gestures or signals that the musicians clearly understands.
    Although this field is extremely competitive, becoming a conductor especially to well established orchestras, is both lucrative, gratifying and a position that is well-respected.

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  8. In the article “Men make better conductors” men are said to be better conductors than women. I strongly believe that how successful a person turns out to be depends on their talent and their work, definitely not their gender. Why wouldn’t women make good conductors?

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      1. How do you think that musical bands without conductors are understood? Do you think that musicians are competent conducting. on their own as we have seen in the string quartets?

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  9. Before reading these articles, i didn’t really think too much about the role of the conductor. i always just thought they were a part of the orchestral experience. Now i realize that the conductor in an orchestra has the same level of importance as a director of a movie or play would. i definitely think it requires a little more skill and understanding of music to be the conductor than performing an instrument in an orchestra. i would like to be the conductor more than playing an instrument because i think it would be one of the most amazing feelings of accomplishment you can achieve as a musician of classical music.

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    1. I agree with you. Their importance is very much valuable. A conductor is a great motivator and communicator, has a strong stage presence. Also one has to be very educated in order to achieve the position of an conductor.

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    1. I think a conductor is necessary during most of the time a band plays. Link: https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-10063,00.html As this article states “A musician playing at one side of a stage would be unable to hear music being played by another musician at the other side some several meters away and so a conductor beats time which both can follow. Even if he could hear there would be a small time lapse between the two.” It provides you with many other reasons why it might be hard for a band to play without a conductor.

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  10. The conductor is like an artist painting a masterpiece. He has all the tools in front of him although it is the job of the conductor to have the vision is seeing what the musical piece is suppose to sound like. From reading this I have learned that an orchestra could have the most talented musicians but with out a leader to keep them in sync composed and flowing at the proper pace and not getting to loud or too low. Without one its almost like the missing piece to the puzzle.

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  11. Would an orchestra still be the same if here wasn’t a conductor leading them through the song? Would musicians began to become selfish and want to out play another?

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    1. I think some would be selfish and try to out play others so they could get the shine that’s way a conductor is very important to lead the band so everyone is in order.

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  12. The interesting part of a conductors job is how they are the person primarily tasked with the question of how to interpret the piece of music being played. This means they have to know an read every part every member of the orchestra will play. Different conductors could have radically different ideas of how to play a piece of music. This causes for their to be a difference based on the attitude of the conductor causing every time a piece of music is played for it to be unique.

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    1. Conductors aren’t the main attraction at the orchestra and as such nothing will happen when the audience isn’t paying attention to the conductor since their main duty is to guide the orchestra which are what the audience is suppose to listen to. The musician are the ones that’s listening to the conductor and following his direction and if the musician isn’t paying attention to the conductor then the music they play will be out of sync.

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      1. Since the conductor is your leader you have to listen to them. The conductor leads while the musician follows. The conductor is their to provide guidance and if a musician is not following, the whole piece may just sound like a wreck.

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  13. I Don’t think it matters if listenors understand the role of a conductor because a peace can be played without aconductor.And your listening don’t have Anything to do with the conductor, because all they do is make gestures for musicians to follow to in order to play a piece.

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  14. Prior to reading this article I had an idea of what a conductor was. I was in a band class and played clarinet so I got to see my band teacher conducting us players while we play the piece. If I had a choice of being a musician or conductor I’d say a conductor because I rather be the person leading everybody on what to do, and how I want the piece to sound like. As a conductor I would want my audience to be fascinated by what they are hearing.

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    1. Based on research that I found, a good portion of conductors started by teaching music in high schools and colleges. To even start working as a music instructor you need a degree in musical education. After they think they have acquired enough experience teaching music then they start taking conducting workshops. This is where conductors work with Master Conductors to get career advice and the chance to work with full orchestras. Most importantly you have to know how to at least play one instrument very well. This gives you the ability to explain and go more in depth when giving advice and things of that nature

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    2. What I was reading online is that it is difficult to get those type of jobs. Basically after you graduate from the school, you have to get experience in the music field. T

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      1. This is like another carrier, and its not only one person trying to get the same position that you want. Its like another completion.

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  15. I can definitely agree that a conductor is like a sports coach. Realizing how much the two are alike is actually pretty crazy. Being the composer of an orchestra is like having everyone follow your lead; which is the same when a coach diagrams a play on the board. Then after the composer/coach is done explaining or rehearsing the play they perform it in a real life situation. The composer is more likely to help guide you through the real life scenario and the coach will do the same. Except the coach usually tends not to do it gracefully and just yells from the bench or the side of the field on where your supposed to be. The players/musicians also have to be on the same page with another. Its important so one instrument not playing over another or two players are right next to each other when they should be creating space. I think they go hand and hand very nicely with one another.

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  16. Do you think people are more likely to join music to become a conductor specifically?
    or
    Do you feel that most people want to start out as a music teacher or even learning by learning an instrument?

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    1. I think to be a conductor you would have to be a musician first to understand what the other side is really like then after you can be a conductor and learn the language of how to really lead an orchestra.

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  17. Yes it’s important that the listeners understand the role of a conductor because it will help them follower the conductor movements that will reveal part of the band that is playing next and they would enjoy it more.

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    1. I would imagine that it would. If the conductor was not there, the performance would be disorganized. While it might not be incredibly obvious to a more casual listener, I’m sure the a more experienced or analytical listener would be able to hear differences in the piece. Without a conductor, the multiple musicians may not play at the exact same tempo, and some instruments may overpower others at key moments in the piece. With a conductor there, the piece would definitely be more organized and composed.

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  18. yes it’s importan to have a conductor so the listeners will understand what is happening in the song or what is coming next so they the joyful moment will build up inside of them and they will get to enjoy what is playing

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  19. My idea of a conductor previously was someone who tried to help an orchestra get timed in music, when to come in (musical timing) and how to come in (to come out lower or higher) and who gets to come in (Instruments). One of these impressions I actually got it from the cartoon bugs bunny from above. As a child i would watch that cartoon show and that’s really the only show that I actually got to have my impression that a conductor had the high power to control an orchestra. If I had a choice of being a musician in the orchestra or the conductor, I would chose being in the orchestra because If you actually think about it, you as the musician all you have to do is be able to play the notes that are being show to you on a page or few pages while as a conductor the while weight of the whole orchestra is in your hands With or without you the conductor determines the success of the orchestra. The orchestra isn’t made up of just ten people its mostly around 25-50 and we have different instruments, from the violins to the trumpets, so that is a huge job and deal and amount of stress you have to go through to control an orchestra. Besides that being a conductor is simply another language the way you wave the baton is like simply confusing for me, from the first video we had to watch, there are certain things to do to have it a certain way, to have a short nice tune is different from having a powerful tune and what if the orchestra doesn’t understand you, that would be a disaster. The most surprising thing ive learned from the reddit conversations would be that, there are still conductors today, I really thought the whole idea was old school and dead, but seems like conducting has been around under the radar, maybe because orchestras aren’t as common today. Another think i found as a surprise that people who sing also have conductors, i really thought that the whole point of conducting was only for instrumental music but turns out that conductors are also here for the vocalists as well. Another surprising thing that I’ve found is that even if conductors are almost extinct that there are certain people in the reddit conversations that are conductors in todays world and have the experience to share with the world. I think that it should matter that most men are conductors, traditionally I understand that all of the conductors were men, but nowadays its a different world, and not everyone has the same perspective and views of this. I think that a female conductor would be as great with practice as a male conductor with practice and experience would be. Although certain people don’t agree because its a tradition that men always conduct, I would have to disagree because what if women rights were active in the 19th century then that wouldn’t stop a female to become a conductor, but because women rights didn’t become official until the late 20th century i think women didn’t have the opportunity to show the world what they could bring into the conducting business. Listeners should be able to comprehend the job of a conductor, although orchestras are under the radar, I believe that its a very important part of music history that should be known to most listeners. Being a conductor doesn’t get as much credit as it should, to have all that leadership to lead a full orchestra of more then 25 people is a gift, without a conductor it would be chaos, so i think its important to give credit to a conductor today. Does everyone agree that if the womens rights was available in the 19th century women would join the conducting buisness? Although conductors are still around today would it affect the music industry if we had conductors and orchestras to be more popular nowadays?

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  20. Back then conductors of orchestras were considered to be legends and really big people, do you think nowadays people still have the same views over this or no?

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    1. I feel like they definitely should equally be recognized but in our current society no one is listening to that sort of music really. But if orchestras and conductors were more popular now in 2016 then i think that would be.

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  21. A conductor is a person who directs others on what they have to do in order for them to keep up with what they are doing in order to be on track.

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  22. Why does it matter if the listeners understand the matter of a conductor? It matters because they would understand why a conductor is in in the middle of the stage, he is doing his job, which is directing every orchestral musician, in order for the musicians to create a good project so the audience can hear.

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    1. I think both because both jobs requires a lot of hours of practice. it is not easy to become a musician, you have to have the skills to play and instrument and understand how music works. it is amazing how few people have the ability to play many instruments and also being a conductor.

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  23. A conductor is someone who control a group of instrument players by hand and arm gestures. He/she leads the musical performance by being a leader, motivator and organizer. A conductor alone side with with their performance to match their action made it easy to predict there role. My ideas was the same because a conductor was self explanatory once I saw the connection between the orchestra and the conductor.

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  24. Before the discussion, I had never given much thought to the importance of conductors in a musical performance. I did understand that they were an integral part of a concert, but I had never given much thought as to why. I now understand that the conductor acts as a guide in order to keep a musical performance together. I had never thought about how integral a guide could be to keep the massive number of musicians playing in sync and complimenting each other. The conductor is necessary to make sure that no instruments are overplaying others or visa versa, as well as to keep them playing on tempo. The article I found most interesting was from The Telegraph, in which they discuss Vasily Petrenko’s views on women in the role of conductors. He claims that women could not fulfill the role of conductors as they would “distract the musicians by making them think of ‘other things'” and that they also would not be as dedicated to the craft as men are. I found his comments to be completely narrow minded and shallow. The reasons he gives are invalid and have no bearing on the competence of women in the field. By there continuing to be more male conductors than women, it is continuing to perpetuate the idea that women cannot fulfill this role.

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    1. I believe it depends on how you’re listening to the piece, If said piece was played live without a conductor there could be mistakes between the musicians and this could change the way you hear the piece, versus hearing the piece with a conductors who’s job is to make sure the way in which we hear the piece is just as it should be when it was composed. But i agree with you there is a change in experience when an individual listens to the song alone say in a room, versus when they listen to the song at a concert.

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    1. i said maybe because it takes more focus or maybe because its from a emotional stand point that females are not really conductors.

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  25. My idea of a conductor previously was someone who controlled the orchestra and made sure everyone was doing their part correctly. This impression came from what I saw on a TV. If I had a choice of being a musician in the orchestra or being a conductor I would choose to be a orchestra musician. Being a conductor seems like it takes an unbelievable amount of skill and concentration. I’m not saying a orchestra musician doesn’t. I find it surprising how a conductor can control a whole group of musicians at one time. I think it matters if most conductors are men because if woman were conductors men might get distracted and not focus on what they’re doing. It might help if a listener understands the role of a conductor so they are aware of what is going on.

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  26. If you had the choice of being a musician in the orchestra or being the conductor, which one would i choose, i would have to choose to be a conductor. it just shows that you are more of a leader figure to the public. think about it 1 person controlling a whole orchestra that ranges from 20 – 150 musicians that is not any ordinary persons job at all.

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    1. I agree. Though as tempting as it is to perfect playing an instrument, to be a conductor means it is your job to control the pace of over 100 musicians!!! that is a task but a thrilling task.

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  27. why are females rarely put in the positions to be conductors could it be because of the it takes more focus to be able to do something of this caliber or is it from an emotional stand point ?

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  28. People understanding the role of a conductor does matter. The conductor is the commander of live orchestrated performance. As stated in the reading, the conductor controls the pace of a musical piece. With no conductor, certain instruments may come in before its time either too loud or too low, so once you understand the value of a conductor you understand why a piece is performed perfectly.

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  29. Random question, but with time comes the ever-evolving society and the way things are done may change. Do you think the value of a conductor is the same now as it was back in the 19th & 20th century? & also do you think the conductor could become a job abandoned in the future as things move more and more towards the technological side as the years go by?

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  30. I feel listeners should understand the difficulty of the conductors job. They should also understand the job itself. Its like a director in a movie, for example if the movies poorly rated the director gains a reputation, the reputation also signals for the public to skip the next movie that director might create. Like M Night Shyamalans, Avatar the air bender, the live action took a lot of bad rep. Versus someone like Christopher Nolan and Inception. If the audience knows a directors reputation there more willing to see the next movie made. Conductors have the same job as “Ive read on the reedit post” and to me they face the same amount of criticism from the audience and professional critics. But In this situation alot of people judge the music itself before they judge the conductor.

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  31. I would choose to be a conductor because they keep all the musicians in line with one another. They also direct specific sections to quiet down if something doesn’t sound right, or to increase the volume. The conductor keeps the orchestra in unison.

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    1. That’s keeping track of dozens of people and dozens of instruments all reading different parts to the same song. I wouldn’t be able to do that, not with my deplorable micromanaging skills.

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    1. I know u would need a very stable understanding of the comments of music and it’s instruments so probably you’re PHd in Music

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  32. I think that it’s important for the audience to acknowledge the role of an conductor because they have the most important job within the entire piece. Without the conductor then the piece would not be structured.

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    1. I believe that anyone can do anything, but from reading this article, I think there are definitely a lot of specific capabilities one must have in order to be a successful conductor. It seems like a thorough understanding of music and the specific musical piece is needed, as well as an ability to lead, and the awareness of all music players and what their tasks. They have to have a strong sense of musical knowledge, dedication, be a good listener with what is described as a “hyper-awareness of awareness”, and be able to convey their interpretation. It’s a very arduous and challenging job– but if one has these characteristics, or the drive to develop them, they may surely be a conductor.

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  33. I could completely agree that being a conductor is like being a coach because the orchestra has to follow your lead and an orchestra to a conductor is the equivalent to a coaches team. If the band messes it, the fault would be instantly blamed on the conductor. They have all the pressure on them

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    1. Do you think that each member of the orchestra should conduct the orchestra several times to increase awareness of the skill it takes and to build comaradare.

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  34. If if had the choice, i would rather be a musician in the orchestra because being a conductor would take incredible skill and concentration because you would have to have the ability to pay attention to each section of the orchestra equally while at the same time being able to control each section. Being a musician in a section of the orchestra would not be as nerve-wracking because you have your sheet music to pay attention to and the conductor, not everyone else section. Well the percussion also because they are the ones who keep the beat initially.

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  35. I had no idea how important a conductor really is to a music ensemble. Prior to reading this, I had thought a conductor didn’t play a necessarily “important” role in a performance, but instead is just kind of a figure there to keep everyone together, or someone a musician could look up to for guidance in their playing. After reading this, I now realize the real talent, dedication and music knowledge that is required to be a conductor, and how important their presence really is. Previously I had the idea that the conductor had the easy job in the entirety of the production– not having to memorize the piece of music or any parts, or even know how to play an instrument. I would say this mislead perceptions stems from my lack of classical music knowledge. I had played classical instruments in high school (not very well), but when ever I would watch the conductor it would be to make sure I didn’t make any noises with the instrument while people weren’t playing or it was another part, because I didn’t know how to read the music very well. I had assumed that everyone else didn’t even have to look at him, and that they would be fine playing the parts if he wasn’t even there. Now I see that most of my ideas of a conductor were very false. The conductor’s role is often more difficult than that of a single instrument player, as a conductor is responsible for a thorough understanding of the song, all its parts, and the instruments in it– and has a huge responsibility over the entire ensemble. They help to create a piece that sounds less of individual sounds pieced up– but more as an ensemble.

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    1. Ya think disincentive they have to memorize certain movements and poses so the orchestra can play the right notes at the right volume and tone.

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    2. I don’t think it’s more challenging but I believe its a bit more important since he shows organization throughout the orchestra, he has have a great sense of hearing to be able to know when to raise or lower a tempo.

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    1. You can become a music teacher for a band class and teach them how to play well. You can then enter them in competitions and build your name as a teacher then start your own private orchestra. Or you can compose music of your own for a university and through the prestige the university gives you raise an orchestra to play on. Campus and draw people from around the world to listen to your music.

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  36. I think it’s very interesting to see a conductor lead an orchestra or band during a concert it gives me a sense of wonder.

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    1. It’s very interesting when the conductor has control over his musicians but sometimes the conductor can just be a figure head only there for show .

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  37. Because I was in concert band I understood the concept of what a conductor was. Although during my experience playing in the concert and also the orchestra of the school I learned that although our conductor taught us the tempo and how to play we were so used to playing we didn’t follow or need his directions to play the song the way he intended. I’m not sure if this was a personal experience but I believe that the meaning of a conductor is lost for high school level (and possibly greater) musicians because of the practice the band has put in before hand. I also have noticed some orchestras not playing with a conductor but alone and although they sound good there does feel like something is missing. Could it be possible that the meaning of a conductor has been lost within the recent years or is it just happen stance that I have had these experiences?

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  38. Before to read this blog about conductor and the role of this person, I used to think that conductor was only a coordinator of the orchestra. I didn’t know he has so much responsibilities. I never understood why this men is there moving his arms. I was kind of weird to me, but now i know and I admire this person. If I have the opportunity to be a conductor, I will do it because I believe those people have the ability to understand the music and the melodies of every single sound, I don’t know why but I think that this position is well perform by men because they have the ability to focus in only one thing.

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  39. Conductors are quite interesting, they work really hard to make the sounds of the orchestra right and they balance and organize the orchestra itself. “The best conductors are the best listeners”, says Tom Service and “The whole duty of a conductor is comprised in his ability always to indicate the right tempo,” said Richard Wagner from the BBC link shows how skilled and important conductors are for an orchestra possibly you can say a back bone to it.

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  40. When I was reading about the conductor and the qualities and responsibilities that this person has, I remembered that long time ago I watch a video of a kid that was pretty young, he was considered one of the most youngsters conductors in Uzbekistan. This kid with only 7 years old has the ability to connect with the music an early age. He has admirable qualities that not all the conductors have.
    After you watch this video let me know if you think that kids are better conductors.
    Are young kids able to feel and understand the music as same as an adult?

    I hope you guys like it!!

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  41. Since a conductors a quite an important role for a orchestra what is the requirements for one? Do they have to be skilled with other instruments or they just need a great sense of music?

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  42. So are most conductors good at playing a bunch of instruments? I imagine they have extensive knowledge on every instrument, but do most of them play a lot of instruments?

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    1. I think they play lot of instrument because they have to play the instruments in order to under the sound of a instrument. Conductor has know how all the instrument work in order to direct all the musician.

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  43. I wasn’t surprised at the relevancy of the conductor. I feel that nobody in any orchestra gets enough credit for what they do. To be any part of an orchestra seems to require exhausting vigilance, especially for the conductor. Like, everyone needs to pay attention to the conductor, but the conductor needs to keep track of everyone. Also, I bet their arms get tired.

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  44. I’ve never really thought how far back a music conductor came from but it is very interesting to see. Predictable that it’s only a mans job because of the day and age this was done. I don’t see much wrong with the idea of no women being able to be a conductor. What impresses me about this the most is that the conductors have to make sure all instruments are being heard and how much louder and what times for these instruments to play should be. That’s some skill to be able to control all of that. The job seems pretty tricky both ways. But for the conductor to know what sounds best and which sounds go good together is pretty amazing to me. I also never knew their exact job description. I do believe that it matters if listeners understand the role of the conductors because it makes you look out for when they are playing it keeps you more interested to see how this works. And watch the interactions between musicians and conductors. I think it would just keep an audience more engaged.

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    1. I agree with not everyone’s talent goes noticed. I honestly don’t ever usually pay attention to conductors but after reading this my view on them is much more respected because they have a tough job to do. I’m very amazed by this as well.

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  45. The reason why there’s many men conductors is because females can be distraction. Musician has to concentrate on every move of conductors to play the music right. Musician can be sexually distracted if female conductor directs them. They would be less distracted is the conductor was a male.

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  46. Do they have a special school and a degree in order to become a conductor ? How does the musician under stand the conductors movement ?

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  47. this is a very informative article, i honestly had very little knowlege on this topic and i learned the origin various examples on how conducting in music in the cartoon industry as well as regular public television. I wonder if current music other than classical can be improved with conductors but that would only be at live performances only. I wouldnt mind seeing a large orchestra playing music to a song by a more current artist such as Drake or Future.

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  48. Previously i knew conductors were supposed to be in control of the orchestra’s musical performance, what i didnt know was the large amount of performers that make up a orchestra, 150 is a lot of people go be controlling musically. I would definitely want to be the conductor because of my special ear for music, and i would make sure everyone performs in UNITY.

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  49. the reddict article was very informative, i didnt know that all of the performers wasent heard, i thought the conductors job was more of a unity control thing. hearing from a actual opera singer made it more understandable that sound is a important factor in being a conductor or even a singer/performers standpoint. Personally i feel like theres nothing wrong with being a female conductor, but sexism is real so i understood why there are very little female conductors. There would definitely be a competition between sexes if more females were conductors. i honestly think it dosent matter if everyone single person in the audience knows the complete role of a consuctor, only if your interpreting the performance you should really care about the conductors role.

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