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Suggested Reading

1. Rehearsal Rooms

Struggling to improve the acoustics in your band room? Check out how the Medan Band did it.

2. Concerned about playing swing music properly?

Check out my guidelines

3. Ear training exercises for bands

Unlike piano players, ear training is essential for wind band performers. But how many band directors bother to give their bands suitable exercises?

4. Intonation problems

While tuning is simple act of adjusting a length of tubing on a wind instrument (often by reference to a single note), intonation is an ongoing process in which a player strives to match the pitch of others in the ensemble during performance. 

5. “Blowing” a wind instrument

A common misconception among wind players is to believe that the air moves through the instrument in order to produce the sound. This is simply not true. 

6. Conducting – suggestions for home practice

The best way for a conductor to improve is in front of a live ensemble. The unfortunate reality, however, is that this is not always possible. Aspiring conductors therefore have little choice but to find other ways of honing their skills.

 

Additional Hints


The following points were omitted from the earlier discussions in order to avoid giving too many instructions at once. Study them carefully.

 
  • Some conductors make the mistake of giving a slow downbeat and then flick their hands up too quickly. This habit, described by Brock McEltheran as the "hot stove" technique [Conducting Technique for Beginners and Professionals, Oxford University Press, New York, 1989], risks having the band play slightly behind the beat. Keep the hand constantly moving. It should only stop briefly at the very top of the beat.
 
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed. If you tense up your shoulders, players may subconsciously imitate you.
 
  • Facial expressions can be an important means of communicating with the ensemble. However, it is probably better to avoid making wild grimaces during intense musical moments.
 
  • Do not sing or tap your foot when conducting. Such habits can ruin a performance.
 
  • Conductors often demand that players look up at the conductor. However, it is also true to say that conductors should make eye contact with the performers as much as possible. This is important to maintain rapport with the group.
 
  • Avoid all frills and exaggerated gestures. A conscious effort to establish a distinctive style also risks appearing artificial. Let your personality emerge naturally

 

 



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