Conductors often use a baton. It is not compulsory, and many conductors feel more comfortable without it. In the end, it’s a personal choice but we think it’s a good idea to try using it – you can then opt to use it or not.
Think of the baton as an extension of your lower arm. Try to have a sense of line going from inside your elbow, through the arm and hand, into the baton.
It is important to avoid angles between lower arm and baton, and gripping the baton too tight or too loose, as shown in the following figures.
In our experience, many batons available for sale are too long, and therefore can be difficult to control. Remember that every movement you make is exaggerated by the stick, so shorter can be better – especially if you have long arms. Baton handles come in a variety of shapes – there is no good or bad here, experiment until you find something that feels comfortable.
Moving the Baton
(Allow around 10 minutes for this activity)
Watch this video showing how to transfer the “tennis ball upbeat” we saw in Section 1.2 into the baton.
Now practice this action yourself. The sense of energy created by releasing the ball from your hand now needs to move to the tip of the baton.
- Make sure you are focusing the energy on the tip of the baton.
- Then: practise the movement for a minute (or until you feel comfortable) then practise it again while focusing on another activity (e.g. watching tv, reading a magazine, talking to a friend, surfing the internet). The goal is to execute the movement without thinking about it too much.