As a junior in high school, I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do in college. One of my greatest passions if you have not already been able to notice, is music. I love playing my flute, but somehow I can’t really see myself as a performance major. I have been giving lessons to a few younger students, and it has shown me that I really like teaching. This has led me to look into being a band director. The more I have thought about it, the more I find myself really watching the different conductors I have had whether at school, in clinics, or at honor bands. I have also been researching conducting online, and I came across an interesting article called 8 Leadership Lessons from a Symphony Conductor. The following, is the list of leadership lessons in the article.
1. Conductors start with a plan.
2. The conductor recruits the best players.
3. The conductor is visible, so everyone can see him.
4. The conductor leads with the heart.
5. The conductor delegates and focuses on what only he can do.
6. The conductor is aware of gestures and their impact.
7. The conductor keeps his back to the audience.
8. The conductor shares the spotlight.
It isn’t hard to see that the conductor is a leader. In fact, the conductor must be a good leader for the group to succeed. Trying to get a large group of people to make music together is difficult. Trying to get a large group of people to make great music together is even harder, requiring someone to lead the group and tell them what to play, when to play it, and how to play it. Just like a band or orchestra needs a great conductor, and project needs someone to lead it. Look at it this way. The performance of a group can easily be compared to a large project that any group is working on whether at school or at work. There needs to be a strong leader to hold the group together, but there needs to be several other smaller leaders within the group. As number 5 suggests, the conductor or leader can only do so much. They lead the group, but ultimately others need to step up and take responsibility for the details. A conductor can tell the band what to do, but if the players do not take this leadership and use it as guidance in their practicing and playing, then the conductor can’t do much about it. The same thing can happen in any project. Each person has their role that needs to be fulfilled in order for the entire group to succeed. Whether you are the conductor or a musician playing an instrument within the group, realize that you are a part of a larger goal or project, which is the performance. Without the collaboration of the leader with the other members of the group, the project will never be completed, so take your role in the group and put as much as you can into it as possible.