In honor of the Packers incredible start to the NFL season and to show that I am making an effort to be an appropriately enthusiastic Milwaukee sports fan, I thought I would share a great conductor analogy from one of my mentors:
“Conducting is like football – in rehearsal, you are the head coach; in concert, you are the quarterback.”
His point was to make sure you put yourself in the correct mindset for your role on the podium. In rehearsal, you have to keep tabs on the time; you have to judge players stamina when repeating a difficult section multiple times; and perhaps most difficult is knowing when a mistake will correct itself naturally and when you need to rehearse something. In performance, much of what you do is carry out the “game plan” that was rehearsed. But just like with football, the best performances come from subtle in-the-moment creativity and pacing. Having the chance to watch every MSO performance always reminds me just how much a single glance or a strong gesture can shape a work.
So remember every time you watch a great Packers or MSO performance: much of what you see/hear may be spontaneous, but there was also an entire week of planning that made it possible.
Long before I came to Milwaukee, I was an Aaron Rodgers fan because his path is exactly what every young assistant conductor is striving to follow. Check back for a future post on the subject…