Eighteenth Week (I’m Back!!!)

Sorry for the long break! I had to take a hiatus on this independent study because of the winter musical. Now that it is done, I’m going to reflect on some things that I learned about conducting musicals when watching Mr. Meyer lead the pit band. First of all, I just want to say that we had a really good pit band this year. They were precise, musical, and intelligent in their playing. That’s why there wasn’t much that Meyer had to do in leading the pit. They were so coordinated that he could also play his keyboard part without having to worry so much of what was happening in the pit. That way, he could focus more on coordinating what was happening on stage with what the pit already knew so well. The second thing that I noticed was that the only thing that must have been tricky for the pit band to coordinate with what was happening on stage was the vamps. A vamp is a repeated group of measures that the band plays repeatedly in a loop, which usually occurs in the middle of a number where there is something important through dialogue or whatever is happening on stage during the music. Therefore, this can be unpredictable, since actors on stage are not going to be precise with the pacing of their lines or the swiftness of their movements on stage. As the conductor, Meyer has to not only watch both the pit and the stage, but then he has to coordinate between the two groups for the music to continue steadily. He does this by mainly following what is happening on stage so then he has a better grip on the pit when leading them. Meyer is very good at eye contact with his fellow musicians and making big enough motions for people on stage to follow him, which is a crucial part of being a conductor. A conductor is not only a guide; they are leaders.

1 comment

  1. Good to see you back, Avery, though your performance in the musical was well worth the hiatus. It’s so interesting to get this peek at the inner workings of the performances. I guess I was vaguely aware of the vamp concept but had no idea what’s involved in pulling it off.
    What’s next for you in conducting?

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