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Eastern Stars Concert Band N.Z. (Eastern Stars Band Inc) welcomes
beginners to advanced.  Young and old.  
 Auckland New Zealand

How to follow a conductor

David

Monday, June 22, 2015

Conductors aim to maintain eye contact with the ensemble as much as possible, encouraging eye contact in return and thus increasing the dialog between players and conductor. Facial expressions may also be important to demonstrate the character of the music or to encourage the players.


Generally conductors demonstrate the beat pattern with their the right hand. The left hand is reserved primarily for gestures other than time-beating. The primary responsibilities of the conductor are to set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble.


With 4/4 time, many conductors will give the band a free measure (one bar) of 4 beats so the band come in on the 1 once they know the tempo.   If there is a pick up note, that is to say if the work begins on beat four in a 4/4 pattern, many will conduct 1-2 and 3, and then bring the band in on 4 (the upbeat).  


With the four-beat pattern, the conductor will bring his arm straight down vertically on beat one, left on beat two, right on beat three and up on beat four.  If your looking for the first beat in a bar, you will see a strong downward motion (unlike any of the other movements) and the beat is when the conductors hand reaches the lowest point, just before the bounce.  The downbeat should be the only beat that is made at the center of the base of the conducting plane.  The downbeat indicates the first beat of the bar, and the upbeat indicates the last beat of the bar. The instant at which the beat occurs is called the ictus. Articulation may be indicated by the character of the ictus, ranging from short and sharp for staccato, to long and fluid for legato.


Dynamics are indicated in various ways. The dynamic may be communicated by the size of the conducting movements, larger shapes representing louder sounds. Changes in dynamic may be signalled with the hand that is not being used to indicate the beat: an upward motion (usually palm-up) indicates a crescendo; a downward motion (usually palm-down) indicates a diminuendo. 


On the up beat (4th beat) it is here that the conductor might set a new slow or fast tempo. The speed of the preparation from the ictus of the last beat in the bar to the ictus of the next first beat, gives the new pulse and type of beat.



Eastern Stars Concert Band (Cadets/Youth) rehearse on Tuesday evenings. Eastern Stars Concert Band rehearse on Wednesday evenings (7.00 pm) at Pakuranga Intermediate hall during term time.  We perform at least four concerts per year, including Anzac /Autumn, Winter, Spring & Christmas. We also play various Christmas parades (Papatoetoe, Ellerslie, Panmure, Howick Midnight Madness), as well as attending music festivals/competitions (Matamata and/or Nationals). We play at various school galas (Wakaaranga, Elm Park) etc.  We frequently fundraise for disaster victims and involve the community as much as possible by doing playouts at local resthomes. We are based in Pakuranga, Auckland, N. Z. 
   Eastern Stars Concert Band is a family friendly band. We welcome visitors to our rehearsals.