But until yesterday I had never been under the baton of a conductor who frankly admitted that he needed to change his conducting style to make his meaning more clear to the singers. He told us that he wondered why we had continued to make a mistake in a certain section of the piece. Then he said he had studied how he was conducting that section from a video he had made of himself conducting. After analyzing his motions, he realized that he was not giving the proper cues. When he showed us the difference, it solved the problem. Everything was made very clear. How very admirable for the conductor to let us in on his thinking process. We all learned a lot.
Though choral conducting has certain cues and motions considered customary and standard, each conductor will bring his own flair to the occasion. It sometimes takes a while for a new conductor to break in his singers to his style. I have been in groups where we relied on each other to judge where the conductor's ictus actually fell -- one conductor's ictus crept up higher and higher depending on how excited he got. The singer's sometimes just have to rely on "feeling" together. It is truly wonderful when the conductor is willing to admit that he sometimes has to concretely explain in words and actions exactly what he means and then be very consistent. How fortunate for the choral group who has a conductor that admits, "It's all up to me."