1.6 Stopping the Sound

We should apply the same principles to stopping or releasing the sound as to starting it. Prepare the gesture so that the musicians have time to process the information and give information about “how” as well as “when”. As with all other conducting gestures there are myriad ways of doing this, but a useful starting point is to think of a circular motion. This can be done with the baton hand, with the other hand, with both hands and it can be done quickly, slowly, crisply, smoothly, roughly, emphatically, tenderly, vaguely or in whatever way is appropriate to the music in question.  If the last note is short, you probably don’t have to do anything other than indicate the beat, there will be no need to stop the sound.

Activity – Stopping the Sound: Observing Good Techniques

(allow around 10 minutes for this activity)

Watch this video which shows a variety of examples. You may want to make notes on the different gestures used.

As you work through the videos that follow, remember to pay attention to the endings as well as the beginnings – as musicians we often place so much importance on starting together but somewhat neglect finishing together!

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