I was reading an article posted to Facebook the other day. Esa-Pekka Salonen became a conductor when he filled in for an absent colleague.
In the following short video, you can pick up on both his talent and sense of humour. Below is a summary of his 10 tips for becoming a conductor plus the link to the full article. Enjoy!.
Click above to see the full article.
1. Love the Music - The main word here is PASSION. You have to love the music. Obviously, when you read the full article, Salonen thought that some conductors were just outfits and hair. My take is that you have to have HEART & the hair and clothes are a nice extra.
2. Go to Rehearsals - He means here that the best learning happens as you watch others rehearse. I feel that very strongly. You will learn many good things you want to replicate and perhaps even more you want to avoid.
3. Learn to Play an Instrument Well - My best instrument is my voice. That is where the abundance of my training lies. If you are helping people to use their skills to reach for greatness, then you had better understand how to learn.
4. Accept That You are Just a Waiter - To Salonen, the composer is the chef and conductors the waiters, serving the creation. Now, you know that the best waiters know the dishes they serve and even have favourites. Waiters can have an elan that adds to the experience. Is that you as a conductor?
5. Shed Your Thick Skin and Don't Scare People - Being sensitive to the artists in your group is so important. It doesn't mean that you don't have a very definite plan for the music but that you are aware that others may not feel that way. Salonen says not to shout and rant but to share your passion with others and bring them along with you.
6. Stay in Shape - Conducting takes a lot of muscle and you need to be in shape. In a previous blog, The Well Muscled Singer, we discussed that very thing.
7. Get a Good Stick - Salonen talks about his special sticks and how important they are. I have tried sticks and I end up doing damage to myself or those around me. Perhaps, if I were conducting large orchestras, I too would have to learn.
8. Make Little Excursions Outside Your Comfort Zone Daily - The point he makes here is don't jump too far but keep your new adventures close to home but a little scary.
10. Be a Boy or a Girl - There has been some controversy lately over the gender of conductors. Salonen says it doesn't matter. Just have the passion and get on with it.
Do read the full article. It makes so much sense.