The art of conducting – dominance in action.

I like a good conductor (the orchestral kind not the bus).  Since I was kid I’ve been faced with many conductors.  They’re all different, and yet, they have a lot in common.  Here are the classic features:

bad conductorGood sense of rhythm – goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many are vague when it comes to waving a baton.

female conductorAn expressive face – they can yell at you in practise, but during performances, it’s all in the face. The glare, the snarl, the pleased and the delighted.
Knowledgeable – they have to know more than you do about the music and not appear arrogant about it.  You want to come away feeling educated.  That includes all the variety of instruments. There is nothing worse than a conductor who knows only the instrument they trained on. They spent the entire time addressing just that part of the orchestra and ignore everyone else.

Passionate – they have to love  it. Love the music. Strive for perfection.

Leaders – not as in managers (the Leader of the orchestra does that).  The moment they are on the podium, it is silence, attentive faces and no mucking about.  (Yep, we muck about like kids, wrong music, sucking on sweets, reading books….) A good conductor will hold your attention.

scary conductorSadistic bastards – oh yeah, they like to humiliate (not all conductors) but some do and revel in it.  During rehearsals verbal humiliating anyone who isn’t giving them their full attention, who doesn’t give their all, who clearly has not practised.  I’ve heard all kind of things yelled at a bunch of hardworking musicians.  “You’re playing like marmalade!!!” yelled at an orchestra, who in my opinion sounded perfect.

Worse is the pointing the baton at the offending individual. “You’re flat.”, “You’re early.”, “You’re too loud.”  on and on. As a kid in one band, I dreaded one conductor who had a habit of pinning down a section and making them play individually, just to check up on them.  The terror of being singled out.  You can bet I practised for him – humiliation does make you keen.


mad conductorOf course not all are great. Some have temper tantrums – walk off and go for a stomp outside.  Others have their fetishes – the one who has to hear everything fast, “nothing is slow!” he would yell.  The one who only liked French Horns….

What makes a great one?  They’re appreciate your efforts and show humility back.  I was once fortunate enough to see the great Yehudie Menuhin conduct at a concert. A renown violinist, in his later years  he would conduct as a guest. We had the chance to see him from the choir seats (sat behind the orchestra and facing him) rather from the auditorium.  He wasn’t one who put a lot of effort into what he did, very subtle and gentle. At the end of every movement he would smile at the orchestra (a national youth one), put his hand on his heart and give a tiny bow. It was so touching. If I was in that orchestra I would have done anything for him.


A good conductor is hard to come by. A rarity.


grey eyesStefan, the conductor in my book Perfect Notes, is quite delicious, not mad or scary, in control absolutely and his talents are appreciated. Do they extend beyond the baton to other areas?

Clarinet_Concerto_No._1_insetA lesson in breathing








Callie is all he desires—the tonic for his dominance. But to fulfill their dreams, she must succumb to his passions.

Amateur clarinetist Callie turns up for an orchestra rehearsal following a six-week absence to find a new conductor in residence—Stefan, a charismatic man with ambitions of being a composer. After he gives her a lift home, he invites her to his house for a practice session. What begins as a music lesson ends with a passionate display of dominance by Stefan.

As their sexual affair blossoms, Callie is increasingly drawn to find out more about her aspiring composer and why he is a potent lover in the bedroom. When she turns up unexpectedly at his house, she is shocked to find him in the company of a naked woman. Horrified to think that he might have betrayed her, she calls an end to their relationship, but persistent Stefan begs for a second chance.

Encouraged by her boss to resolve her feelings toward Stefan, Callie seeks out a friend of his, hoping to understand what drives him to dominate, but the given explanation creates more unresolved issues for Callie. Determined to seek out the truth, she plans to confront Stefan. But by then, he has gone abroad. Callie must make a decision—cash in her savings and follow Stefan, or banish him from her life. If she does the latter, she will never understand the nature of the intense emotions he has awakened within her. Does she dare to love him?


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5 thoughts on “The art of conducting – dominance in action.”

  1. I enjoyed reading this Jaye and love the cartoon lol. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading this 🙂


  2. Hi Jaye, I don’t know anything about conductors, so seeing the different characters they have is pretty educational, and I can see how you practised for the nasty one or how you would have for Yehudie Menuhin. I enjoyed the lesson in breathing and love the book. 🙂



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