RSNO Takeover 2014, Day 1: Conducting

RSNO Takeover is an intensive two-day work experience project which took place at the RSNO Centre on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 June 2014.

Alice Guse and Isla Ratcliffe, who have been working with RSNO Assistant Conductor Jean-Claude Picard, describe their experiences on the first day of the programme.

Alice Guse – Glasgow
At the start, after breaking the ice with some fun games, we learnt how to put together a programme for the orchestra that we had available and the notation used in showing orchestra size. We also learnt a lot about concert "rituals" and decided together on how we would change them to suit the type of concert that we are organising. Then I learnt a lot about conducting and how the relationship between thee conductor and the musicians is very important so that everyone feels comfortable; this is done through your attitude, kindness and how clearly you display what you want. I also learnt more about reading full score music and how it is set out, also how to make the notation clear in your head so that you feel as if you know what you are doing. Also being aware of entries and main themes is another thing I learnt is important to show the players and how to show them is significant. I then learnt more about the finance side of things and how much it costs and the thought behind it, overall a fantastic and full day with lots of fun.
Isla Ratcliffe – Edinburgh
Great first day! Spent the first hour playing introducing games before joining the artistic planning department for a couple of hours to decide on the programme for tomorrow’s concert. I learned a lot about what needs to be taken into consideration when putting together a programme: size of orchestra required for each piece; achieving a balanced programme; ensuring that there is a suitable contrast and similarity between pieces, etc. Then out to the park for lunch.
Jean-Claude asked that Alice and I be back half an hour early from lunch to get as much time as possible for practicing conducting. First we practiced in the hall on the podium and then in the conductor’s room where many famous conductors have been. I learned a massive amount from Jean-Claude. It was a very creative experience – the main reason I enjoyed it. I’ve got a lot to practice tonight!
Our last session of the day was budgeting and finance. I’d never before thought about a lot of the things that we discussed so that was quite interesting – and very important of course.
Isla and Alice are part of the RSNO's Takeover scheme, arranged by the Learning and Engagement Department. All views expressed by Takeover participants belong to those of the individual and are not representative of the organisation. For more information, visit the RSNO website.