Westminster Conducting Institute Day 5

This mornings warm up introduced a Sanctus by Taize that we should have a look at, along with some improvised warmups that sounded like we were in a Buddhist Temple…cool stuff.

I got a little more stretch out of my yoga class, plus lots of breathing.  The instructor offers a week long intensive course for conductors…maybe next year…

Two conducting classes today.  Some of the people taking this for college credit needed lots of help, so I didn’t conduct, which was ok.  I learn a lot watching the faculty work with others. Here’s a few facts:

If the conductor is standing tall and relaxed, making eye contact and looking engaged, the choir sings better, without knowing why.

Clarity of gesture is more important than beating time.  There’s a lot of push/pull that goes on in a piece of music to bring out the beauty.  A conductor can’t just be a metronome.

In movement and ear training, we got to play with a parachute in time to the music and sing from some green solfege books that looked familiar somehow; perhaps it was the hand of Guido…..

After dinner, we finished off the day with an open sing of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” conducted by Mary’s teacher.  (A shortened version) They have soloists and a pianist and folks just show up. Sight reading oratorio choruses up to tempo is great late night entertainment after a long day of conducting.

Tomorrow, Master Classes begin, conducting everyone in front of the faculty for comments and a DVD recording.

 Quote of the day: “You keep the beat and the director gets to listen.  I don’t want to be a traffic cop up here.” Sabine Horstman

More tomorrow,



1 Comment

Filed under Church Music

One response to “Westminster Conducting Institute Day 5

  1. That quote is a great finish to the post, John. It’s great to hear what you all are doing, and I look forward to your return!

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