4.3.5 Experience


Experience doesn’t guarantee credibility, but it helps. Of course, you can only gain experience of conducting by conducting, so it stands to reason that there may be a deficit here initially. However, even if opportunities to actually conduct are limited, it is possible to gain useful and relevant experience by playing in the best level orchestras or ensembles you can, and by attending rehearsals as an observer.

Maxwell makes a firm connection between Experience and Intuition. The more experience you have, the stronger your intuition is likely to be, and this allows you to develop the ability to make good decision earlier.

In the professional orchestra world, young conductors gain experience by acting as “Assistant Conductor” to more established conductors who mentor them. Sometimes it is an official position, with a young conductor being appointed to a 2 year position with an orchestra after an audition process, but it is often much more informal. You might consider approaching conductors you know and asking them if you can “assist” with their orchestras, bands or choirs.

Activity: The Role of an Assistant Conductor

(Allow around 10 minutes for this activity)

Watch this short video from 2015 where Alpesh Chauhan talks about his role as Assistant Conductor to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Five years on from that, Alpesh is chief conductor of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma, Music Director of the Birmingham Opera Company, and Associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra!

What can you learn from his experience?

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