Do Not Follow Conductors

Is the conductor a shepherd?

When you play in an orchestra, are you thinking that you are a sheep and the conductor is a shepherd? Do you think that conductors are supposed to give you directions and you just have to follow them? Then let's think again. This article is all about how you should not follow conductors so that you can contribute more to the orchestra.

How do you contribute more to the orchestra by not following the conductor? Let's read on!

Conductor, a decision maker

One of the primary jobs as a conductor is to make all kinds of musical decisions. Each member of the orchestra comes to a rehearsal with his/her own musical interpretations. At a rehearsal, we can not let everyone play however they want to; someone must make a decision. As you know, that is what a conductor does. A conductor unifies everyone's musical ideas and shows which musical path they will take as a group.

However, the actual music making, for the most part, happens from each player in the orchestra. No matter how great a conductor is, if the orchestra members are just following the conductor, or in other words, if they do not actively make music, they will not produce a great performance.

You can achieve a decent performance when you follow a conductor but what can we do to make the performance even better?

Actively participate

As an orchestra musician, we should actively participate in the music making instead of just following a conductor. Here are some things we can do to get ourselves more involved in making music in an orchestra.

Music making in an orchestra

Orchestra is not a place where a conductor gets to shine and takes all the credits alone. Conductor is the leader and the face of the orchestra, but she/he is not the only person making music in a performance. Good performances come from collaborative efforts from everyone in the orchestra who spontaneously make music. A conductor governs all musicians, but each musician should be actively making music with the conductor. And to make music with the conductor you cannot sit back and wait for her/him to give you directions.

In an orchestra, each player is as important as every other player. Concertmaster may have solos and play higher notes that are difficult to play, but that does not mean Concertmaster is more important than a section 2nd violinist. Everyone is just as important as everyone else in order to make a good performance as a group. And that means everyone should be participating in music making as much as everyone else.