Monday, February 01, 2010

Conducting from the Piano

For anyone who's making the transition to music director and needs to lead an ensemble from the piano, David Hahn on has just written a useful guide on Tips for the Pianist-Conductor. On the all-important head nod:
A good head nod is harder than it sounds, though. Major complaints from sidemen in pits usually involve some variation of “the head nod doesn’t match the hands” – that is, the head nod brings the band in before or after the piano-conductor plays the beat with their own hands.......A good head nod, as with any ictus, is usually more about the preparation, or “prep”, than the actual nod. The “prep” is the beat(s) leading up to the first beat that is played by the ensemble. A head nod, then, is not just a sudden drop of your head. A full head nod with prep has both a clear upward swing and a downward nod.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I conduct my church choir from the piano, and I am getting ready to lose my school choir accompanist due to maternity leave...this couldn't have come at a more helpful time.