1.4 Observing Different Preparatory Gestures

Now you have practised your preparatory beat, you need to get started with a variety of gestures to a small ensemble.

Work through the activities 1 “Observing Different Upbeats” and 2 “Starting the Music: Practising With Others” to try out your skills.

Activity 1 – Observing Different Upbeats

(Allow around 10 minutes for this activity)

Watch the video of a conductor giving a variety of upbeats to a small ensemble. The musicians were given a pitch to play but no information about dynamics and articulation. Some of them are good, some are deliberately poor. See if you can work out why!

You might like to experiment with this kind of thing yourself. You only need one person to play or sing (although two or more is better because there is then the possibility of them not being together!). If the musicians don’t have any music, they have no information about what to do and when, so it all has to come from you.

Activity 2 – Starting the Music: Practising With Others

(allow at least 10-15 minutes plus discussion time)

Find at least one other musician to work with. Practise starting the music using what you have learned about preparatory beats and how to start the music. Reflect on what gestures you made where you felt that the musicians’ responses were what you wanted, and where things went wrong. Make some notes and discuss your experiences with other learners.

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