chapter  4
3 Pages

Common Conductor Problems and How to Avoid or Fix Them

ByHarold Rosenbaum

This chapter focuses on the most persistent mistakes choral conductors make in rehearsals and performances, with suggestions on how to correct them. Conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Colin Davis, Herbert von Karajan, and Gregg Smith were legendary for their ability to hear and fix mistakes occurring in rehearsals. Since at any given time most conductors do not have that gift, a conductor must understand his/her own strengths and limitations, and must prepare for rehearsals accordingly. Both in rehearsal and in performance, singers must hear and retain the pitches given to them before they commence. When rehearsing an average or below-average chorus, a common mistake is to play only one pitch instead of the first one of each part, or to play all parts together instead of separately. Consistent cuing helps singers and players by allowing them to concentrate on tone quality, phrasing, and blend, since conductors will be lessening their concern about making correct entrances.