25. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I do hope everyone knew I was joking when I wrote We don’t need no stinkin’ conductor!, but in case you thought I was serious I’m back to tell you I have great respect for good conductors. Bad ones? Not so much respect.

But I am most definitely not a conductor!

The other evening I coached the wind section of the UCSC orchestra. On music I didn’t know. At all.

It was not a pretty sight.

I “conducted”, so to speak, but I’m thankful no one but the wind section had to witness it. (I’m sorry they had to see me, though.) In my dreams I’d be a good conductor. Better than most, really. But the reality of it all? Sigh. Less than stellar.

But I had to do it so I did. At some points I’d see some of the players whisper and laugh. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were just astounded at my lack of ability. They are a nice bunch of students — last quarter I played with the group and I enjoyed that. I hope they realize that conducting is not something I’ve ever pursued. As I told them, I took conducting in college, but the group I worked with when I conducted Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was simply flawless. Because it was a recording! We didn’t have an opportunity to conduct an orchestra. Instead we used a record. I waved my arms. The recording played perfectly. It wasn’t a terribly helpful way to learn how to conduct, but I passed the class and that was my only goal. Now I wish I’d had an instructor who actually forced me to learn and do a better job. Ah well … there are a multitude of things I would do differently if I were in college now.

So anyway, I guess I survived the evening of coaching, and I hope the winds did as well. I’m sure they’ll be happy to have a real conductor back in front of them soon.

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