The Rise and Rise of Conducting Resources
I have been somewhat fascinated with the rise of apparent resources for aspirational conductors during COVid-19 lockdown. Why have these resources appeared when they were markedly absent before the global pandemic?
There are three resources to review today:
The first two are American-based initiatives, and the third an Australian intitiative.
Maestro as Professor
In some respects, the website name says it all. This is an initiative created by Caroline Watson from the University of Kansas and Chaowen Ting from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The website is a starting point for those student conductors wishing to pursue a career primarily in academe. The founders pitch appropriate levels of expertise to their intended clientele. There are webinars to watch – the one by Ken Kiesler is a standout – and a useful list of places from where to purchase batons (although everyone knows you go to Tate Newland).
Other websites with similar information are available on the Internet, so start here and move your way up.
This is membership-based website offering some freemium services, but is essentially an enterprise to make money for its founders, Kensho Watanabe and Lina Gonzalez-Granados. Signup is required without any assurance that your private information won’t be on-sold to third parties. From their website I quote,
“Conductors’ Collective was founded out of a desire to thoughtfully contribute to the global community of musicians in a time of isolation and distance – the Conductors’ Collective fosters an environment of collective mentorship and shares leadership principles that are accessible and applicable for all.”
I find this fairly disingenuous since the website is spruiking for business in pay-for-service areas including resume/cover letter/bio reviews, rehearsal footage review, intensive score study lessons amongst other services.
My question is why would young conductors who hardly have a foothold in the professional world, and with minimal professional experience, be offering such services when they are readily available for free from established conductors who are always more than willing to offer advice to younger colleagues? Think I’d pass on this one.
This is an initiative by Australian conductor, Ingrid Martin. Again, it’s a pay-for-service website aimed at aspirational conductors predominantly at the school aand community music level. Essentially, the idea is to offer structured conducting lessons online in a sequential series of short courses. The site also offers a podcast series which, whilst not unique, is novel.
What appeals to me about this initiative is that it aims to cover a significant shortage in instruction at the very basic level for conductors in Australia. The cost for each module is given and the content covered within each is clearly outlined. For those starting out, especially without access to a private teacher (and there very few reputable conducting pedagogues in Australia) what Ingrid offers is both valuable and sorely needed. Big thumbs up.