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Best conducting-related text you've ever read...

The title pretty much says it all.  What's one of the most impactful things you have ever read about the art of conducting?  Article, book, website, etc.
 
I'll start... if you haven't read William Dehning's Chorus Confidential, you are missing out on a hilarious, yet incredibly frank and poignant look into what we do as choral conductors...
 
Specifically, his chapter on the conducting gesture called "The Craft," de-mystifies some of the more difficult conducting manuevers into simple, understandable (and entertaining) language.  I highly recommend!
on September 17, 2015 5:11pm
Conscience of a Profession by Howard Swan – explains why the most important quality of choral music is honesty. 
 
Hope that helps!
Michael A. Gray
on September 18, 2015 12:02am
The first title that comes to mind is "The Composer's Advocate: A Radical Orthodoxy for Musicians" by Erich Leinsdorf. If nothing else, it will make you think. But, strictly speaking, it concentrates on the craft; the art, presumably, comes from within.
 
Best regards,
Jerome Hoberman
 
Music Director/Conductor, The Hong Kong Bach Choir & Orchestra
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 19, 2015 4:55am
The Grammar of Conducting  by Max Rudolf, a timeless classic
on September 19, 2015 8:11am
I absolutely concur with the previously mentioned three books. The Rudolf Grammar of Conducting has the clearest, cleanest patterns anywhere. It was meant as a text for orchestral conducting, but as I tell my students, "I want you to be a conductor, not just a choir director."
 
Kenneth S. Klaus
Nicholls State University
 
 
on September 19, 2015 9:23am
I like Brock McElheran's "Conducting Technique for Beginners and Professionals". Succinct, thoughtful, practical. A good read for choral and orchestral conductors!
Caron Daley
Director of Choral Activities, Duquesne University 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 20, 2015 10:54am
The Choral Experience by Ray Robinson and Allen Winold took in its day a fairly comprehensive and accurate look at the director's field of vision.
on September 21, 2015 8:35am
HI Matthew,
 
William Dehning's Chorus Confidential IS truly a wonderful accurate and truly humorous book. Also Brock McCelleran's "Conducting Technique" is an excellent source with clearly illustrated conducting gestures, equally valuable for choral and orchestral conductors. Please consider "Five Centuries of Choral Music", Essays in Honor of Howard Swan, published by Pendragon Press, and EC Schirmer's "Up Front", Becoming the Complete Choral Conductor. Both of these books contain a wealth of information on important topics written by many highly regarded American choral directors. I immodestly suggest, within the Pendragon Press publication my essay, The Conductor's Process - an overview of what I think we do as Choral Conductors, and Mastery of Choral Ensemble in the EC Schirmer publication, an essay on choral rehearsal techniques - "how to hear, how to fix" - and how to teach your choir to do what you would like them to do".
 
Sincerely,
 
Jim Marvin
on September 21, 2015 11:03am
I agree with what Kenneth tells his students. Reading books by accomplished conductors, I've found, has reminded me over the years  that I am a conductor and can't for a moment forget or neglect the responsibilities that come with it. The book I regularly recommend for choral conductors at any level is Prescriptions for Choral Excellence by Shirlee Emmons and Constance Chase (Oxford University Press). Much excellent lore for teaching sound vocal (and breath) technique to a chorus, with answers to the specific problems typically encountered in volunteer choirs.
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