...and speaking of conductors

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by MahlerBrass, May 14, 2005.

  1. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Hello all!! Iguana's post made me think of something that's been on mind for quite some time. What do you do when you're faced with a conductor that encourages bad playing? I've been in the situation where I've been at a rehearsal and the strings are horribly out of tune, the low brass is in marching band mode, tuning is all over the place, the piece we play suddenly sounds like it's modal, and on top if it all, when we're stopped to "fix" something, the conductor looks at the orchestra and goes "good job gang, that sounded great!!" This isn't a situation where it's happened at a performance, but at multiple rehearsals. Knowing that the players aren't professionals, it isn't a community group and a lot the players are working towards being pros and playing to get better, so when somebody complements bad playing, how is the group or musician going to get any better? I'm a strong believer that an ensemble is only as good as the conductor expects it to believe (this is especially true in high school and college groups),and I also believe that as musicians our expectation level should be nothing less than perfection, if we get there or not is a different story. So Mr. Laureano, what's your reaction when this happens, knowing you deal a lot with youth groups, do you ever encounter a conductor that complements bad playing? Sorry to go on a rant, but it's something that just eats me up inside, thanks a lot!
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    I can't really say that at this stage of the game that I have. It's quite the opposite in an orchestra like this. Especially with our particular MD. He keeps everything well in line and still expects you to take risks. It's a great balance.

    To your question about how to deal with it, you have to take the bull by the horns and be a great section leader. That means:

    Getting along with your section and the principals of the nearby sections

    Knowing how to give instruction quickly, efficiently, and like a gentleman

    Being prepared so you can lead by example

    Showing people that there is merit to the idea that there's a difference between one, two, and three fortes

    Knowing when to speak and when to shut up

    It's very tricky, MB. There's a balance to claiming ownership of an ensemble, musically speaking and a good principal has to recognize that conductors come and go but the band/orchestra will always remain.


Share This Page