1.8 The Non-Baton Hand

So far we have not spoken about what the non-baton hand does. There is no right or wrong as to whether you choose to hold the baton in your right or your left hand. To avoid confusion in this resource, we will talk about the right hand as the baton hand, but if you hold the baton in your left hand, reverse the instructions, so that your right hand becomes the non-baton hand.

There are three basic possibilities:

  • A mirror image of your right hand (known as “mirroring”)
  • Something independent
  • Nothing

Most textbooks will tell you not to mirror – but all the great conductors do it, many of them quite a lot of the time! Don’t forget that “nothing” can be perfectly useful and means that when you do use your non-baton hand there is more meaning.

You will find much more on this in the Technique chapters of the ConductIT website, but a few possibilities for independent left hand use are as follows:

  • Cueing
  • Crescendo/ diminuendo shapes
  • Turn the page (not always as easy as you might think!)

Activity – Independence Between Hands

(Allow around 10 minutes for this activity)

Watch this video showing some exercises which will help you to start building independence between your two hands, then try to practise them yourself.

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