What a conductor actually does on stage

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  • Published on:  Friday, July 20, 2018
  • It’s more than just dancing around.

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    If you’ve ever seen an orchestra perform you’ve probably had a difficult time looking away from the person dead center on the stage – the conductor. It’s hard to miss someone as they swing their arms around pointing at the musicians that seem to be focused instead on their music stands. So what exactly is the conductor doing?

    We decided to ask James Gaffigan – a conductor who recently guest conducted the New York Philharmonic in Central Park – just what it is that makes a conductor so necessary and how their actions shape the performance.

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  • Source: https://youtu.be/z_yIn8V3UcU


  • Patrick Star

     (Jul 24, 2018)

    Im curious to know the amount of people who dont know what a conductor does

  • Clashing Spiral

     (Feb 10, 2019)

    i knew what conductor does, i just dont understand why they are needed. if its truely necessary, why i never saw conductor on pop, rock, metal or any live band other than orchestra? why dont orchestra do things like other live band does?

  • Ataraxia

     (Jan 10, 2019)

    Everyone but a conductor

  • xylophone

     (Jul 23, 2018)

    Don't look at the trombones. It only encourages them.

  • W3475ter Weird name probably

     (Feb 8, 2019)

    Don’t look at the bass and percussion sections

  • that one french horn band geek

     (Jan 1, 2019)

    F horns need more attention!

  • Dragon Curve Enthusiast

     (Jul 23, 2018)

    I always saw it this way: The conductor plays the orchestra in the same way that each of the musicians plays their instrument.

  • drmedwuast

     (Feb 3, 2019)

    How about: The conductor leads the orchestra in the same way that a producer leads a band in the recording studio.

  • ASTRO.

     (Jan 10, 2019)

    it's like a coach. you use your skilled players and direct them

  • Satyajit Th.

     (Sep 8, 2018)

    I want to be an insulator

  • kuroichi sana

     (Feb 8, 2019)

    Lowkey laughing at this joke. Cause im at a train 😂😂

  • Nab Z

     (Nov 13, 2018)


  • afro curly girl

     (Jul 20, 2018)

    I love it when the conductor go crazy.

  • SoulCat Productions

     (Nov 23, 2018)

    Well I don’t cause then I have no idea what to play when

  • Inwytia

     (Nov 13, 2018)

    ive seen you somewhere before

  • Pixeliarmus

     (Dec 4, 2018)

    I dont understand people saying " musicians know how to play their instruments, therefore no need for a contuctor".. Do you know what it's like 30 people trying to play at the same time with 8-10 different instruments and 1-2 hours long pieces? It's like saying a director is unnecessary because actor know how to act and know the lines, story in a film. Just like directors, conductors add their vision and feeling to the piece besides the technical need which was shown in the video. Hearing the...

  • aaron estrera

     (Feb 10, 2019)

    But the thing is im sure they’ve practice a lot like 100 times therefore they already know how to play together thats stupid af if they just started playing together for the first time at a concert

  • Jessica Daniels

     (Feb 6, 2019)

    Thank you; from your explanation I understand the role of the conduct much better. 😊

  • KT

     (Jul 25, 2018)

    I used to play violin in school, and when my teacher would be the conductor during a performance, I would notice that my mind almost goes blank. I have the music in front of me, but I would know the songs so well that I would hardly glace at it most of the time. She was able to give me the cues so well and show me how I should be playing, it was like my fingers on the strings and my hand on the bow would play on their own. It was such a big difference to me when comparing her standing in front of us, v...

  • Filip Schneider

     (Dec 18, 2018)

    As a pop-music trained drummer, I've played with classical ensembles couple of times. The conductor confused me incredibly. I was like "So where should I play the beat? Should I play it when the conductor shows me, when the flutes play it, or where it should actually be?" Because when I tried to follow the conductor, she would tell me to not fool around, watch her and play with her. When I decided to ignore her completely and just play the way I feel it, she would say "Excellent! Now you...

  • Occasionally a nerd

     (Dec 5, 2018)

    Andrew H. One thing that I’ve learned about orchestral playing from my own conductor, the conductor is not for keeping time, that is on you. Instead, the conductor simply unites the orchestra and guides it.

  • Darko Ristanovic

     (Jul 21, 2018)

    *it's laviOsa, not laviosAR!*

  • Johan Permana

     (Jan 2, 2019)

    No it's Patrick

  • Lauta Tinchó

     (Dec 5, 2018)

    There is an interview of Daniel Radcliffe where he actuallly says that a lot of movements of the wand where inspired by music conductors. It’s kind of weird cuz since a child I always pictured directors as wizards casting music spells.

  • M D

     (Sep 16, 2018)

    I just realized I’ve never seen a female conductor

  • Yoga

     (Feb 12, 2019)

    Just because you never interested in what a conductor is,never even searched it. and then watch this video. doesn't mean there are none.

  • julia ojeda

     (Feb 10, 2019)

    Alondra de la parra is the best!

  • Tsetsi

     (Jul 23, 2018)

    this was a very comprehensive tutorial

  • Occasionally a nerd

     (Dec 5, 2018)

    sthoverthere no

  • sthoverthere

     (Dec 4, 2018)

    I definetely feel ready for this new career path now.