3 tips to how Music conductors motivate their orchestral players

Conductors lead highly trained artists toward a unified end product.  They have independent minds and are likely to resent authority, while at the same time they recognize that some form of leadership is necessary for them to perform together effectively. Frequently they know each other better than they know their conductor. It is important for a conductor to remember this as he leads the orchestra. The ability to motivate the musicians in an orchestra is one of the most important skills a music conductor must possess.

Here are 3 tips on motivation from the conductor’s handbook:

1. Immediate performance appraisal. As Napoleon said “A man wouldn’t sell his life to you, but he will give it to you for a piece of colored ribbon”. A word of praise, or even just a  thumbs up is a major motivator. Performance, appraisal and feedback are interwoven to improve output on a second by second, minute-by-minute basis so immediate improvement is achieved.

2.Consider every musician a member of your family.Know all your members by name, address their concerns. When you walk out among the orchestra know that you are one of them.  A famous conductor came for a rehearsal, turned to one of the bass players and asked: ‘ How is your kid doing today – recovered from the flu?’ The bass player was from then onwards  ready to give out his very best for every rehearsal and performance.

3. Never critize or correct. After a viola player missed his entry, great conductor Herbert von Karajan looked over, as if to say, “I know my job, I hope you know yours. I won’t say anything now, but when we come to the recapitulation you’ll know what I am doing, and we’ll see what you do.” When the recapitulation came, of course, the player was ready and played it.  Karajan just glanced over again, as if to say OK, but not a word was spoken.

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3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on bibipelic.

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  2. Thank you for your comments. Very helpful!

    Reply
  1. Best Online Tips for Conductors - Making Music Magazine

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