10 Conductors share what they learned from the ABODA Summer Conducting School…

We asked participants from our 2017 ABODA Summer Conducting School shared their thoughts about how the school improved their conducting practice during the year that followed.

What was an unexpected benefit of coming to the summer school?

“I always knew that my conducting technique would benefit, but something that was a
pleasant surprise was how much I learn about rehearsal technique. I found that I learnt a huge amount from not only the tutors, but also my fellow participants on rehearsal strategies, possible troubles and solutions and great ideas of how to implement expectations and good musicianship from the very first rehearsal. “

Jessica Berton, woodwind multi-instrumentalist and freelance conductor

What was the most valuable thing you learnt at the summer school? 

“The impact that a conductor has on an ensemble is amazing. Working with all the different ways you can conduct one piece – even just 8 bars – was great to see.”

Leon Duncan, St Columba’s College Essendon

“Apart from advancing my stick skills, I learnt how to communicate more meaningfully with my body. Over the year I’ve been able to trial and hone these skills, replacing or adapting them to my existing technique…The most valuable idea for me was to consider economy of movement and the skill of being physically ‘quiet’ when necessary.”

Diane Gardiner, conductor, Gosford Selective HS (NSW), Avoca Beach PS (NSW), Central Coast
Concert Band and Central Coast Youth Orchestra

“For me personally, the most valuable thing I learnt from the summer school was to follow my passion and to ‘act yourself into a new way of thinking’. Although I am very early in my conducting journey, everyone I worked with was so helpful in answering all my questions and boosting my confidence both on and off the podium. All the mentors were extremely supportive and really cared about helping improve everyone’s conducting/music directing.”

Nicole Marshall, music director, novice wind band of the Southern Area Concert Band (City of
Kingston) and associate director to their concert band

“I think the most valuable thing I learnt was to breathe with the ensemble as if you were going to play that entry, phrase etc. I believe it has changed the sound of my ensembles in an amazingly
positive way. I’m even finding that ensembles I am guest conducting sound better, which I didn’t think was possible!”

Fiona Lucas, Chatswood Public School

What was an unexpected benefit of coming to the summer school?

“Viewing recordings of myself conducting was incredibly valuable. I don’t think I would have been able to comprehend and adjust to the feedback from my peers without seeing for myself. The thought of doing this was originally terrifying to me, but now I see it as a necessity to anyone
wanting to improve their conducting and rehearsal technique- I highly recommend it.”

Vanessa George, instrumental music teacher and ensemble director, Eltham High School and
Xavier College, Burke Hall

“…it was very enjoyable to see how all of the participants improved over the week. No matter what the level of experience, every single person came away better than they were at the start, and I thought that was great.”

Captain Rachel Beeton, Australian Army Band

“…the community I met at ABODA were so supportive, inclusive and encouraging, the people I met there were unlike any other classical music group I’ve ever encountered before.
 Their guidance and teaching was wonderful and I am very thankful to have been given the
opportunity to attend such a great summer school.”

Victoria Landy, Kilbreda Girls’ College and Mentone Grammar School

What is the one reason you would most recommend the summer school to a colleague?

“Inspiration.  So often we labour alone in our little cells, losing sight of the joy of what we do.  I have been to a number of schools and in every case the clinician and my fellow course members were inspiring people. The video you receive of your own performance is well worth [the] study – even if it feels embarrassing at first.”

Lance Cowled, training band conductor, Clarence City Band, Hobart

“I would encourage all my ensemble director colleagues to sign up for the next ABODA Summer Conducting School for one simple reason – unequivocally demonstrate to your ensemble members that we exist in a state of continual improvement in our craft. Just like we expect them to practice their parts, technique and musicality, so too can we improve these aspects in our conducting to ensure we are delivering a rewarding, exciting, and, most importantly, an essential musical experience for our ensemble members.”

Jarrod Butler, Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School

Want to take your conducting to the next level and meet like-minded fellow conductors? Register now for the 2019 ABODA Summer Conducting School. Read more…

2019 Summer School Registration