Conducting Thoughts From Dr. Joe Scagnoli

I was doing some office cleaning and came across a notebook for a conducting class I took from Dr. Joe Scagnoli, at Ball State.   I don’t recall the context of the following, but I think this may be something he put together for our class.  Here are “Conducting Thoughts, Some Simple-Some Profound” from ‘Doc.’

  • The music is in the sound, not in the printing.
  • Music moves ever forward.
  • Teach your students to play with professional ear.
  • We are either sensitizing our players or desensitizing them.
  • Every ensemble is capable of its own independent pulse.
  • The music, not the meter, should drive the gesture.
  • The left hand is the adjective hand – descriptive.
  • When conducting soft passages with small gestures the facial energy must increase tremendously.
  • Releases are reverse preparations.
  • Always be aware of who in the ensemble has the pulse.
  • People care more about how you feel about the music than how much you know.
  • The music starts before the first beat is given.  Set up the mood of the music.

It’s obvious from reading it that he’s specifically talking about conducting, but there are gems in there for jazz or chamber ensemble directors, and even just musicians in general.

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