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What is the conductor for, exactly?

I'm reading "The Art of the Conductor" by John Watkins (2007, published by iUniverse). So far, I disagree with just about everything he's said.  This is his take on the conductor's role in interpreting music:-

"Only after [perfected baton technique] has been achieved can the conductor concentrate on the interpretive side of his job and reproduce, through instrument and voice, the effect that the composer had conceived in his mind and painstakingly drafted into a manuscript.

By the time an original…

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How to perform to a backing track without sounding like you're doing karaoke

This is my take on the sometimes controversial topic of using backing tracks for choral singing, plus some tips on how to select and use tracks.

If you're leading any sort of community or contemporary choir, it's highly likely that you're dealing with people who don't read music. You're therefore going to be teaching and learning by ear. I know of choirs where the singers have the sheet music, despite few of them being able to read it. The choir follows the words in the score and learns the notes…

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Why is it so hard to recruit men to choirs?

What a great post from Chris Rowbury's From the Front of the Choir.  Recruiting sufficient male singers to maintain a balanced choir can be a real problem.

I suppose we either have to find ways of attracting more men to choirs, or we have to adjust our repertoire to suit the singers we have.  I'm exploring the latter approach at the moment and seeking out pieces that allow for some flexibility in who sings which part.  I sang Andy Beck's Firefly recently and it's a great example of a song that co…

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3 quick tips for better choir discipline

https://vimeo.com/362764333


You have limited rehearsal time and a lot of ground to cover. You're making progress and the sound is good, but every time the music stops, the chatter begins. Sound familiar? It's a problem for choirs large and small, in every genre of music. So what can you do? In this post, I'll share my 3 top tips for maintaining good choral discipline.

First of all, let's just hop off the podium and change our mindset from choir leader to choir singer for a moment. Maybe its a…

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The no. 1 mistake most choir leaders make

What's the no. 1, physically and mentally exhausting mistake that choir leaders make? And how can we avoid it? Give me a few minutes of your time, and I'll share the problem, and a solution.

It takes guts to stand up in front of a group of singers and ask them to take direction from you. As choir leaders, we feel acutely the responsibility of producing a fine performance. Also, let's face it, there's sometimes a little bit of egotism in there too. If we're conducting a performance, rather than pr…

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