In the world of music conducting there exist fundamental practices shared by all conductors regardless of the type of ensemble they conduct.
Foundations of Conducting Technique is a comprehensive beginning conducting text—complete with pictures, online videos, and supplemental conducting etudes—to facilitate the development of a clear and expressive conducting technique. In this volume, author Frank Eychaner addresses three major areas for beginning conductors: gestural technique, score study, and leadership.
For gestural technique, the text details a number of technical skills, including the appropriate use of the body, the roles of the right and left hand, basic conducting patterns and their derivatives, an application of Laban movement analysis, the importance of the conducting planes, and conducting with varied articulations (staccato, legato, and marcato), among others. Using direct language, Eychaner details clear cause and effect relationships between gesture and sound.
In addressing score study, Eychaner states that all conducting gestures must be guided by an accurate and artistic aural image of a musical work. Rather than advocating for one particular approach, this volume presents a number of possible score study methods for the student to explore. The author also includes a convenient and complete score study checklist.
Finally, the text addresses how to be an effective and ethical leader from the podium. Eychaner presents the transformational leadership model—a holistic and dynamic approach to leadership—as a positive pathway for improving the conductor’s effectiveness on and off the podium.
Supplementing the text are music etudes to help students develop the technical skills of the conductor. The exercises are intentionally simple, consisting mostly of rhythmic materials and folk-like melodies, so that conductors can focus on mastery of gestural skills.
Foundations of Conducting Technique is a major contribution to conducting pedagogy and an extraordinary resource that distills the essence of effective conducting gesture. An ideal text for undergraduate conducting courses, it is also a practical reference for anyone employed in the field, including music educators, church musicians, leaders of community ensembles, and professional conductors of all ensembles.
Frank Eychaner, an international leader in conducting pedagogy, has been an educator and conductor for twenty-five years, working in public schools as well as with professional, collegiate, community, and church ensembles. He is currently Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, where he teaches conducting, choral methods, and choral pedagogy, and conducts the Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Men’s and Women’s Choirs.
Figure 29.5. Duruflé Requiem.
Figure 29.6. Handel's Messiah.
Of the Father's Love Begotten
Appendix A: Conducting Evaluation Form