4.2 The Conductor as Leader

Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela. Just a handful of names that might appear on a list of great leaders.  What do all these people have in common? All of them had a vision and set out to achieve it, bringing people with them and convincing them of their ideas along the way. They might have had differing leadership styles, and a variety of approaches to achieving their goals, but they were able to influence and inspire; command respect and trust; empower and encourage; resulting in a successful legacy.

A conductor must certainly have a clear musical vision before they step onto the podium. They must know what they wish to achieve with the music they are about to conduct and know exactly how to achieve this using the available resources: the musicians in the ensemble. For that to happen it is important that the conductor can convince the musicians of their ideas both on and off the podium.

This section will take a preliminary look at what it takes to be a good leader in the context of being a conductor.

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